HAMPTON, Va. — Suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick took one giant step towards becoming a free man early Wednesday morning when he was released from Leavenworth Federal Prison after serving 19 months for dog fighting conspiracy charges.
Vick is now on his way back to Hampton, where he’ll spend the next two months under home confinement sporting an electronic monitor so federal authorities can track his every move. Starting on July 20th, he’ll be a free man looking for a fresh start.
Rather than fly back to Hampton, Vick and his fiancee — among others — are making the 1,175 mile, 18 hour drive back home.
When Vick finally arrives he will have a contingency waiting for him, as several members of both the national and local media are on location. NFL Network has been on the scene outside Vick’s five bedroom house since Tuesday night. By early Wednesday morning, multiple satellite trucks surfaced. A Vick associate arrived and stuck two signs in the front yard that read “Private property – No Trespassing”. That was followed by a pool company and then some landscapers.
The lights are on inside, presumably all in preparation for Vick’s return.
What we haven’t witnessed yet are any protesters — from groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals — or even zealous fans waving signs of support and wearing Vick jerseys. A few people have trickled through with video cameras and some neighbors have gone out of their way to drive down to the end of the cul-de-sac to check out all the commotion. But for the most part all is quiet from both sides. No police presence needed.
Quiet is just the way Vick would like the next several months to be, but I’m sure the voices will grow either way. Objection from those who are still horrified at the details of the dog fighting operation he financed, as well as those who support the idea that Vick has served his time, lost everything as he attempts to file for bankruptcy, and deserves a second chance.
There is a lot of emotional investment on both sides of this story. One thing is for certain — the debate won’t die anytime soon.
– Fran Charles