From Bad to Worse: Dallas Gives Michael Vick a Key to the City

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It has not been an easy week for the city of Dallas.

It started with a "once in twenty years"-ish, weeklong snow and ice storm during the one week that Dallas could least afford a snow and ice storm. It continued with sheets of said ice tumbling from atop Cowboys Stadium and crushing some workers below. It culminated with a Super Bowl that will be best known for (a) Aaron Rodgers carving up the Steelers, (b) Christina Aguilera carving up the lyrics to the national anthem and (c) 400 Super Bowl ticket holders looking to carve their initials into Roger Goodell's and Jerry Jones's heads as their seats were deemed "unsafe" just hours before kickoff.

In a week where if you're from Dallas you're hoping the metaphorical photographer that is the public is "catching your good side," instead we all were privy to what Dallas looked like hungover and without any makeup.

If you're Dallas, how do you possibly take a bad story and make it even worse?

How about giving Michael Vick, convicted felon on probation, a key to the city for doing nothing more than managing to not become a recurring felon after his release from prison, as well as telling kids everywhere not to become felons.

Oh, and he throws a football. Really far. Really well. He runs fast, too.

If you missed the story, Dallas Mayor Pro Tem (fancy political speak for "vice mayor") Dwaine Caraway decided to bestow the key to the city of Dallas on Michael Vick after his "here's what bad decisions cost me" speech. As best we can tell, the reason he gave Vick the key is that the Eagles quarterback is regularly able to make it through an entire speech telling kids not to kill dogs and commit crimes:

"The message and the kids are far greater than all this response about, 'Why give him the key to the city?'" Caraway told ESPNDallas Monday afternoon. "He is telling kids and exchanging with them the rights and wrongs of the things that he did and encouraging kids to further their education and to not deal with the drugs. To obey their parents and pick the people they hang around. That's a message I would challenge anybody to say that not one kid across America shouldn't hear from people in notoriety such as Michael Vick."

Keep in mind, Caraway did this without prior consent from the actual mayor of Dallas Tom Leppert, who was not happy with Caraway's decision. Outrage spread throughout Dallas, and it led Leppert to issue a statement saying the event was held without his approval. Leppert pointed out that keys to the city can only be presented by a mayor or an elected official who has been given a mayoral blessing.

"Clearly, this was not the case in this situation and done without my knowledge or approval," the statement said, according to MyFoxFw.com.

So now that the bar for the "key to the city" honor in Dallas has been set at the highly attainable "possibly rehabilitated sociopath," how about the fact that the city of Dallas (or a representative of the city) is honoring a Philadelphia's quarterback? Can you imagine Tony Romo getting the keys to Philly? Philly Street Thug would stone him before he reached the bottom of the museum steps.

And I'm sure Michael Irvin is thrilled -- his city honors Philadelphia's quarterback. Vick's city cheers as Irvin is scraped off the Veterans Stadium concrete turf with a broken neck. Nice, huh?

If nothing else, this furthers my point that society in general is a collective sucker for redemption stories, even if the "victim's" redemption is from wounds that are entirely self-inflicted -- like Vick's, like Ben Roethlisberger's. At this point, nothing surprises me with our reaction to Mike Vick.

Wake me up when Vick is named CEO of PetSmart.


If you missed this, Richard Hunter is a radio host in the Dallas area who actually adopted one of Michael Vick's abused and abandoned dogs from the Bad Newz Kennels. On Saturday, he attended Vick's speech and attempted to ask him a couple questions. He was predictably rebuffed. Here is the video of that encounter:

After viewing this video, I asked Hunter to be a guest on my radio show this afternoon. The conversation provided some good insight into the grueling process of rehabilitating the dogs that were under Vick's control (the ones that survived) and the meticulous background checking that goes into adopting one. Also, Hunter provides some details of Vick's abuse of the dogs that I had not been aware of, and he recounts the scene on Saturday and gives his take on Dallas giving Vick a key to the city. Regardless of which side of the Vick argument you're on, it's worth a listen....

Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from noon to 3 p.m. weekdays and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.

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