Did The Cowboys Make A Mistake By Allowing Josh Brent To Stand On Their Sideline On Sunday?
Less than 10 days ago, Dallas Cowboys nose tackle Josh Brent was arrested and charged with intoxicated manslaughter after he was involved a single-car accident that resulted in the death of his passenger Jerry Brown, a practice squad player for the Cowboys and one of Brent’s closest friends. They had been close since their college days at the University of Illinois and, following the accident, Brent was obviously devastated and filled with grief. So, the Cowboys decided that they were going to embrace and support him through the ordeal. And, that meant that, while he wasn’t going to play for the remainder of the 2012-13 NFL season, he was going to be permitted to stand on the sidelines with the team when they played the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
That decision didn’t go over well with a lot of people, though. Following the game, there were lots of NFL fans who were outraged over it. They felt as though the Cowboys were somehow condoning Brent’s behavior or, worse, giving him a pass for it by allowing him to rejoin his teammates. The decision got such a negative reaction that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones released a statement shortly after the game to try and justify it.
“Our team and our players wanted him today on the sideline,” Jones said. “Jerry’s mother [Stacey Jackson] asked us directly as a group. She said, ‘Support him. Help him. Jerry wants that. I want that.’ His teammates asked him to come and be down there with them.”
But, does that make it the right decision? Should Brent have been allowed to be on the sidelines with his teammates? Like many others, I’d argue that he shouldn’t have been allowed to be at the game Sunday. And, here’s why: It’s too soon. Even if Brown’s mother is okay with it, it’s too soon for the Cowboys to be associating themselves with a guy who made such a terrible mistake. If they wanted to welcome him back into the mix by allowing him to be at the Cowboys facility during the week, fine. But, by letting him hang out on the sidelines, they didn’t actually do Brent any favors. All they did was make people hate him even more than they already did. It was a dumb decision and one that the team should probably apologize for.
Moving forward, we hope the Cowboys vote not to let Brent sit on the sidelines. If they want to meet with him during the week or let him attend some meetings, that’s one thing. But, by putting him on the sideline on Sunday, they’re setting a horrible precedent and opening themselves up to more criticism. It’s only been about 10 days since his close friend died as a result of something he did. It’s too soon to be having him patrol the sideline again.