By Jessica Acklen
Usually I am more than happy to talk about my hometown of Dallas. Well, in actuality, my hometown is Arlington. But the Cowboys still call themselves the Dallas Cowboys and their new home is in Arlington, too.
Dallas is beautiful. It has the best restaurants and the best shopping. The people are more than friendly. It is the sophisticated embodiment of everything I love about Texas.
But I was less than pleased with Dallas last week when Eagles quarterback Michael Vick was given a key to my fair city.
That’s right. The same Michael Vick who was convicted of a felony related to his involvement in a dog fighting ring and tested positive for marijuana in 2007. He served 19 months in prison for his crime of animal cruelity, and upon his release, joined the Eagles’ offense.
Vick, who has no significant connection to Dallas whatsoever, received the key from Dallas’ mayor pro temp, Dwaine Caraway. Caraway attributes this decision to Vick’s change since prison and his encouragement of kids to stay in school and away from drugs.
The key was not an official key to the city of Dallas, as the current mayor, Tom Leppert, has made quite clear. He has been be sure to distance himself from this decision as much as possible. A statement of his read: “The action taken was not sanctioned by my office and was not an official ceremonial honor on behalf of the City of Dallas.”
Of everyone surrounding the situation, Leppert seems to be the wisest when he made it apparent to the public that the presentation of the key was in no way sanctioned by his office.
While the key was an unofficial key that council members often give to celebrities welcomed to Dallas, it still seems outrageous that Vick was given one.
First of all, Vick has been out of prison how long? Not even two years. I’m sure that he has made progress since his release and that is to be commended. However, has it be long enough to assure that the change is permanent? It has not been, in my opinion.
Moreover, Vick was given the key during Super Bowl weekend. Where there not any better celebrities or public figures that we could have honored?
Celebrities flocked to Dallas and Vick was just one of many. He didn’t even play in the Super Bowl.
That is who most of the unofficial keys to go, celebrities, which is another problem. Why are these keys being given to celebrities instead of people who head charities or local heroes? To me, it seems like a star-struck Dallas city official was looking for a way to meet an NFL big shot.
There was bit of a confrontation when a local radio reporter, Richard Hunter, attended the ceremony in which Vick was presented the key.
Hunter adopted one of the dogs rescued from Vick’s dog fighting ring in 2007.
When he confronted Vick about the treatment of the dog, Hunter was very pointedly ignored.
It is interesting that Hunter was ignored because Vick said last year that he wished he could apologize to the owners of all the dogs. Hunter gave him that chance and Vick didn’t follow through.
I’m not saying he isn’t remorseful, but it certainly would have made him look better had he shaken Hunter’s hand and given him a sincere (and public) apology.
This confrontation just proves that many aren’t over Vick’s actions. And neither am I.
Jessica is a junior journalism and political science major from Arlington. She is also the arts and entertainment editor for the Lariat.