Michael Vick has a new job. The former Pro Bowl quarterback whose league career was put on temporary hold after a high-profile dogfighting conviction is branching into broadcasting. His first gig as a studio analyst starts next month on Fox NFL Kickoff.
Vick has been a polarizing figure for the past decade. After breaking out as one of the NFL’s brightest young stars, including three trips to the Pro Bowl in his first five seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, he and others were indicted by a federal grand jury in July 2007 over a dogfighting ring at Vick’s property in rural Virginia. He pleaded not guilty, but after three co-defendants changed their pleas to guilty and implicated him, Vick took a plea deal in which he admitted to conspiracy in a dogfighting ring and to helping kill pit bulls.
Vick was suspended from the NFL the next day and a few months later was sentenced to nearly two years in prison. He served 19 months before being released in July 2009. A week later, Vick was reinstated conditionally by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles for two years. He had one stellar season during his four-year stint with the Eagles, making the Pro Bowl again in 2010, before finishing his career as a backup for the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
Vick last month was brought on as a coaching intern by Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who had coached the quarterback in Philadelphia.
Many NFL fans and others were merciless in their criticism of Vick – and, in many cases, of the league itself – upon Vick’s arrest, incarceration and eventual redemption. There were calls for boycotts and plenty of anger, which in this case mostly predated the social media phenomenon. We’ll see if Fox Sports’ new hire draws intense backlash or whether the court of public opinion will decide that he has paid his debt to society and can move to the next phase of his career without a deluge of online outrage.