This particular topic was a suggestion from one of my loyal readers. In the wake of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal this question has come up in conversation time and time again. Will Lance Armstrong be forgiven? I'd like to go out on a limb and say yes, because in all reality he didn't hurt anyone but himself, and he has the legacy of raising millions for cancer research as his redemptive attribute. The outrage is more because he got caught cheating and less because of the fact that he actually cheated. Once there was confirmation of something that he had long been suspended of, there was some what of an obligation to be publicly outraged. Although he will never compete in the sport again, (allegedly), it is my prediction that he will some day reinvent himself, and have a second act.
America's ability to forgive is basically predicated on two things, race and profit.
Almost immediately after the Newtown massacre there was an indirect effort to forgive Adam Lanza, the murderer responsible for killing a classroom full of six year olds. There were numerous attempts to analyze and excuse his behavior as the act of a sick young man. He was never called a thug, an animal or a gangster. Lanza was given the benefit of human flaw, and frailty, and not the attribute of evil. Guilty of his crime, yet even more guilty of being "sick".
Michael Vick, on the other hand was vilified, demonized, and treated as if he had committed crimes against humanity, for dog fighting. Even after losing millions, being incarcerated and paying his debt to society he was still not forgiven.
In America whenever an African-American in the public eye, falls short, or has an indiscretion it is taken personally. It is literally taken as an insult. The undertone is always the same. As an "exceptional negro" some African-American's are "allowed" to succeed because the general consensus is that they are a rare breed. But the slightest mis-step or offense has become reason enough to lose this status. It is the equivalent of being invited to a banquet with limited seating, being given a special place at the table and spitting in the food.
Michael Vick was only able to come back to the NFL because someone realized that he was still young enough to play, and still skilled enough to win games, and create revenue.
O.J. Simpson, and Michael Jackson were not fortunate enough to stand trial when they were in their prime. By the time they stood trial, their stars had long since faded, and neither one was as marketable as they once were. Despite being found not guilty of the crimes for which they were accused, they were convicted in the court of public opinion and never forgiven.
Both will forever live in infamy whether dead or alive.