Sunday, February 20, 2011


I sat on this story and post for a while gauging the response of the citizens of Dallas and other folks around the country. So many times the reactions by our Citizenry to events such as Michael Vick being presented the key to the City of Dallas, Texas end up being the bigger story. The greater, yea overwhelming, majority (including yours truly) seem to share the same opinion and response – bewilderment, outrage and then just pure disgust. Many Dallas detractors expressed amusement and delight in a seemingly “told you so” mode. One reaction I relished was the accusation that, “The City of Dallas is clearly running crack-cocaine through their water system.” Some less than responsible folks are now playing the race card and so we head towards the dark side.

So many people have waded into this debate that it makes our opinion nothing more than postscript. The Might of Right has long espoused, however, that we all have a responsibility to speak up, engage the debate and ultimately hold people accountable for their actions. If we can’t right this wrong then we can at least put it in perspective for those that follow.

In the aftermath of an untimely and damaging ice and snow storm that ravaged north Texas just in time for Super Bowl XLV one very skewed Dallas Citizen in the person of Dallas Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway managed to make that debacle even worse. In one fell swoop we went from the frying pan into the fire and from bad to worse in a millisecond. An incredibly deluded, seemingly euphoric and gushing Caraway (“You deserve it. You earned it. We appreciate you and we love you.") presented the key to the City of Dallas to Michael Vick (Yikes!).

My first reaction was utter disbelief that any elected representative of the city would present an honor to a convicted felon who is still on probation and had to get special permissions to even travel to Dallas. No, despite assertions to the contrary, Vick’s debt to society isn’t paid in full yet. While he may be out of jail, his activities are closely monitored and he has to submit to regular drug screens. One misstep and its back into the clinker. As a convicted felon in Virginia Vick will have to petition the Governor via a special appeals process for the restoration of his voting rights. Right now he can’t even vote for dog catcher, hmmm… Bottom line: Vick’s rehabilitation is still a work in progress.

The fact that a disgraced Vick has been able to recover his NFL career is absolutely amazing, let alone to the degree that he received the 2010 NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award, Pro Bowl recognition, has evolved into one of the best quarterbacks in the game and now the Philadelphia Eagles franchise player. This, Ladies and Gentleman, is one hell of a football player who on an instinctual and intuitive level has no peer. In my meager and humble estimation Vick is one of the best to ever play the game. We also give him credit for his latest community service though much of that appears mandated and PR spin by his handlers. All of this, however, is not a measurement of the state of his recovery and rehabilitation. It’s who he is off the field that counts most.

Does his continuing recovery justify or qualify him as a recipient of the Key to The City of Dallas? Caraway would have us believe that it’s all about the children (?) - that Vick is a “hero” and is providing an important role model. Vick in what appears to be a plug and play approach now says listen to your parents, don’t do what he did (gamble, fight and kill dogs). Stay in school (he dropped out of Virginia Tech) and don’t do drugs (he did). Good advice though some might say that the real message is that redemption and deliverance can come your way if you play your celebrity and the system right, despite the heinous nature of your crimes.

But, this post was not intended as a Vick slam though his acceptance of the key did reopen the debate and the controversy. Michael, keep your key though know that it came from Dwaine Caraway and is not even remotely representative of feelings of the Citizens of Dallas, Texas. Treat it as a party favor… We are reminded of Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert’s almost immediate retort upon learning of Caraway’s presentation.

“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.”

Though some have asserted that the Dallas Key from this point is absolutely worthless, take what strength you can from your experience here. We do, however, strongly recommend you muzzle some of your security. The profanities spewing from at least one of your bodyguards on national TV didn’t serve you well. As a long time and original Atlanta Falcons fan I used to enjoy watching you play ball though the magic and my interest in the game and you specifically is currently on hiatus. We strongly recommend that you move the respected and compassionate Tony Dungy a lot closer to your inner circle.

This post, then, is mostly a statement about Dwaine Caraway who could have found many more worthy recipients of this once prized recognition. If you want an NFL player to punctuate your message to the children of Dallas how about Reggie Bush, running back of the New Orleans Saints; Amobi Okoye, defensive tackle for the Houston Texans; Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald; Michael Oher, offensive tackle of the Baltimore Ravens (my choice) or Jason Witten tight end for the Dallas Cowboys among many, many others. All these folks have given mightily of their time and resources by supporting local and national charitable causes and deserve our recognition and respect.

The presentation ceremony was as absurd as it was farcical where Caraway appeared to be more intent on bringing the spotlight to himself through the personality and celebrity of another. He demonstrated an incredible lack of judgment totally inconsistent with the responsible behaviors now required by our city leaders. When recently queried by a local Dallas TV station about his presentation to Vick, Caraway seemingly at the height of his capacity to articulate his feelings about the incident told them that he's "done talking" about Vick and the key.

Point: With Caraway conceivably in line to take over the leadership reins of the City of Dallas should Mayor Tom Leppert decide to leave early to pursue a U.S. senatorial campaign, this issue becomes a lightning rod for some circumspect analysis of Caraway’s suitability for any leadership role in the city. He does serve as Mayor Pro Tem at the pleasure and confidence of the Dallas City Council and if we are to believe the Dallas media that support now appears shaky, at best.

Thanks, Mr. Mayor, for serving out your term while running for the Senate. Please…


Ned Buxton

PS. Mayor Leppert by law could not run for the U.S. Senate while still serving as Mayor of Dallas. With personal considerations his priority he deserted his post/resigned (choose one) as Mayor of Dallas on Friday, February 24. Acting Mayor Caraway has promised us a "status quo" while Council members appear willing to, "make the best of an imperfect situation." God help us all...

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