There was no harsher critic of Michael Vick(notes) than the judge who sent him to prison for 23 months for his role in running a dog-fighting operation. Now that Vick has served his time and succeeded thus far in rehabilitating himself on and off the football field, Judge Henry E. Hudson has turned into one of Vick's biggest fans.
[Rewind: Controversial 'Top Dog' Vick headline]
Hudson, back in the news for presiding over a case that is challenging the constitutionality of the nation's new health-care policy, was asked about Vick by The Washington Post:
"He's an example of how the system can work. [...] He's having a terrific season. [...] I'm very happy for him. I wish him the best of success."
That's a far cry from the scathing words Hudson had for Vick when he sent him to jail for nearly two years, 18 months longer than the prosecutor's recommendation. From the New York Times:
"You were instrumental in facilitating, putting together, organizing and funding this cruel and inhumane sporting activity," Hudson told Vick in a courtroom packed with animal-rights activists and Vick's family and fans. "While you have acknowledged guilt and apologized, I'm convinced it was not a momentary lapse of judgment on your part. You were a full partner. [...]
"I think you need to apologize once again to the millions of people who look up to you."
[Rewind: Michael Vick jerseys are hot again]
[Related: Despite success, Vick facing massive debt]