Keeping with this week’s dysfunctional theme of success equaling redemption, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick received the key to the city from Dallas Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway last Saturday. No, this story isn’t from The Onion. It actually happened.
It seems that Vick, a man who, 1) is the quarterback of the city’s most hated divisional rival; 2) owned a dog fighting operation so grisly the losers either died in the pit or were electrocuted, drowned, hanged or shot; and 3) is a convicted felon on probation, is the perfect candidate for one of Dallas’s highest municipal awards — an honour typically reserved for distinguished community members and organisations that provide outstanding civic contributions and heroic community service.
You see, Vick did the absolutely remarkable and spoke to at-risk Dallas children about staying in school, saying no to drugs, and being kind to animals. If those are the standards, he should have the keys to around 250 cities by now. That’s about how many times he’s done his image-repairing penance since his release in 2009, isn’t it?
“What he is doing and the effect it has on the children lives is the most important factor… In the eyes of many people, he’s a hero,” said Caraway, adding that he doesn’t condone animal cruelty.
Dallas’s at-risk youth need to hear from someone like Michael Vick. Why? Because he’s just like them. Regardless of what you think about him, he’s someone with whom they can relate, and his words will have significantly more impact than those from model citizen superstars like DeMarcus Ware, Jason Witten, and Miles Austin.
But to celebrate him as a hero is nothing short of galactically stupid, not to mention offensive to people in the Dallas community who really deserve it. The guy killed animals – brutally, went to prison, and stayed out of trouble for 18 months. He’s not a hero. He’s a bleeding asshole on probation who’s trying to earn enough money to stave off bankruptcy. If he can improve his Q-rating in the process and get a sponsorship or two, all the better.
Is this what makes a hero these days? If so, someone dig up Ravens WR Donte Stallworth and former RB Maurice Clarett and bring them to Dallas for a little recognition.
Stallworth has stayed out of trouble since serving 30 days for committing vehicular homicide with his Bentley in 2008. The same can be said for Clarett who, after doing prison time for armed robbery, now toils away in a low level football league, dreaming of returning to the NFL. Both of these former misfits have seen the many errors of their ways, and both do what they can to serve as cautionary tales to the youth in their communities. So where are their keys? When will they be treated like heroes? Oh, that’s right — they aren’t successful or high profile enough for that. Sorry for bothering you, gentlemen. Wake us up when you’re at the top of the fantasy rankings.