Dallas gives key to city to ... Michael Vick?

The Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers met in the Super Bowl two days ago, and Packers QB Aaron Rodgers won the MVP Award for his great play.  The game also featured the induction of a number of former NFL greats into the Hall of Fame, as well as celebrities and statesmen from all over the country.  It was the perfect time to give out the key to the city to some deserving philanthropist, such as … Michael Vick?

Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway presented Philadelphia Eagles quarterback and convicted felon Michael Vick a key to the city of Dallas Saturday.

Caraway said he believes “a great majority” of the people of Dallas would have supported his decision, despite Vick’s conviction for running a vicious dog fighting ring.

“I gave it to him, sure I did. The wayward children that were there needed to have hope,” he said.

Caraway – who is poised to step in as Dallas mayor when Mayor Tom Leppert leaves office – did not say exactly where he was (“somewhere downtown” and “one of the clubs”) or exactly who was sponsoring the event where he handed Vick a key to the city. He said the event occurred around 5 p.m. with children in attendance.

Don’t count Leppert among the “great majority” of people clamoring to give Vick the civic honor usually reserved for meritorious citizenship:

“The action taken was not sanctioned by my office and was not an official ceremonial honor on behalf of the City of Dallas. Official Keys to the City are presented by the Mayor, or an elected official designated by the Mayor, and reserved, on a limited basis, for an elected official of international status. Clearly, this was not the case in this situation and done without my knowledge or approval.”

As it happens, one of the people attending this ceremony was not a wayward child but the caretaker of one of Vick’s dogs rescued from his kennels.  Richard Hunter tried to get Vick to look at a picture of the dog and comment on camera, but instead of responding, Vick’s bodyguard cursed and restrained Hunter, which provided its own moment of irony:

But something else happens [in addition to Vick being given the key to the city] in video — which was shot by Richard Hunter, better known as radio’s own Big Dick. Hunter, as [Dallas Observer writer] Richie [Whitt] pointed out last June, adopted one of the so-called “bait dogs” Vick used in the dog-fighting ring that landed him in prison. The dog’s name is Mel — and as Richard told Richie, “While Vick is pure evil, this dog is so good despite having suffered through such hell that he’s truly changed my life.” Richard went to the event to show Vick Mel’s picture and confront him about the past — which, as you’ll see in the video, never happened.

Hunter’s video has already gone viral:

Vick served his time and should have the opportunity to earn a living. The NFL made the right decision in allowing teams to give him a chance at playing football after paying the price for his crimes (and a higher price than some others in his position). Giving him a key to the city, however, is absurd, as was Vick’s decision to accept it.  Maybe Caraway couldn’t get Rodgers or any of the gathered greats for the Super Bowl to take his calls.

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David Strom 10:41 AM on February 02, 2023