Normally, these events pass with little fanfare. But Dallas Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway has landed in the national spotlight after giving disgraced Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick a key to the city.
"You deserve it, you've earned it," Caraway said as he presented the key to Vick, while an audience of children watched.
A local radio reporter caught the ceremony on tape. What's more, the reporter had adopted one of Vick's abused dogs and tried to confront him about the issue.
Many Dallas residents are furious at Caraway, whose career has been plagued by scandal, including a mysterious home invasion and an incident involving a poker house.
One Dallas Morning News editorial writer wonders what's next:
It seemed like harmless fun when Dallas City Council members recently fawned over Kiss frontman Gene Simmons and presented him with a key to the city. I mean, what does a key to the city really get you? Access to City Hall after hours? OK, probably not.Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert is trying to distance himself from the affair, saying in a statement:
But now, Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway has presented felonious football star Michael Vick with a key to our fair city, raising the question: Can any criminal with no discernible connection to Dallas get a key to our city?
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.Observing from Chicago, a CBS Sports writer doesn't understand why Caraway couldn't choose a more worthy recipient:
If you really wanted to give the children of your great city a role model Mr. Caraway, how about giving the key to the city to a football player that actually exudes what it truly means to be a positive influence on and off the field.Dallas blogger and radio host Gordon Keith is simply disgusted:
How about a player like this year's Walter Payton Award winner, Vikings safety, Madieu Williams? Instead of paying $2 million dollars in legal fees, this man actually put his money to good use ... you know ... towards a positive cause. His generous donation helped create the Madieu Williams Center for Global Health at the University of Maryland, which focuses on public health issues in Maryland and his native country of Sierra Leone.
What the H. E. double hockey sticks? This is non-thinking dumbassery at its finest. Seriously, what has Michael Vick ever done for the city of Dallas, other than make a stop here on his Redemption Tour With Bottle Service which happened to coincide with the Super Bowl? He's an Eagle for goodness sakes. That fact alone means he deserves the Finger of the City.As for Dwaine Caraway, he maintains he did nothing wrong:
Caraway insisted the presentation wasn't about Vick's past but his turn-around since leaving prison and returning to professional football.
"What he is doing and the effect it has on the children's lives is the most important factor," he said.
"In the eyes of many people, he's a hero," said Caraway, adding that he doesn't condone animal cruelty.
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