Exhibiting a soulful, undernourished defiance not seen since Nelson Mandela strolled out of a South African prison a generation ago, young Nick Hogan ended his own 166-day incarceration ordeal early this morning in Florida. There, at the mouth of the Pinellas County Jail, he was reunited with his mother Linda, sister Brooke and a gaggle of media whom Linda rebuffed on her 18-year-old Supra-wrecking, friend-paralyzing martyr's behalf:
"This is our time as a family to come together to support Nick's adjustment back into the public life, keeping it as normal as possible," she said. "Neither Nick, nor we as a family, has any interest in making this anything but private. We respect the media's role and only ask that they respect our privacy. Nick went into prison as a juvenile and has experienced something that will mold and affect him for the rest of his adult life. His focus is to make a positive difference in this world, media-free. Since his future actions will speak louder than any words, there is no need to speak to the media at this time."
Believe us — it would be our pleasure if young Hogan (a/k/a Nick Bollea) were to uphold that "media-free" promise, though reports from his stint in the poke indicate a reality show about his reassimilation is just the kind of unfortunate inevitability you might expect. But even with a media accommodation here and there, Nick still has a decidedly motor-free existence ahead of him: A three-year license suspension, five-year probation and 500 hours of community service for the high-speed crash that left his pal, former Marine and Iraq War veteran John Graziano critically injured and disabled to this day. But enough of the heavy stuff! We're just glad he nabbed an early-release in time for Election Day; Florida's a battleground as always, and we know how civically engaged the Hogan family stays this time of year. Welcome home, son!