Aaron Colen, Sports Editor, Aaron.Colen@chickashanews.com
Josh Brent was on the sideline Sunday for the Dallas Cowboys’ home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, after being in jail just a week before.
Brent was the driver in the one-car accident that took the life of his teammate, Jerry Brown, last weekend. His blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit, and he was recently released from jail on $500,000 bond, facing the charge of intoxication manslaughter.
Brent was placed on the non-football illness list for the game, and was in street clothes, but his presence on the sideline was controversial.
Although Brown’s mother, Stacey Jackson, accompanied Brent to her son’s funeral and has asked the Cowboys players to forgive him for the accident, and although the Cowboys organization has stated it will support Brent through his legal issues, I question whether that support should also have included allowing him to attend games as if he was just another injured player.
Brent was shown during the television broadcast, laughing with teammates before the game. I don’t believe he should be shunned, condemned, or put through any more pain or guilt than he already has and is currently suffering, but that image still rubbed me the wrong way.
In a league in which players are suspended and cut for misdeeds much less severe than Brent’s, I don’t know how the Cowboys or the NFL can justify him being at the game.
By all means, support the player. Support him during the grieving process. Provide him the resources to deal with any alcoholism issues he may have. But there’s no reason to put him on the sidelines for a national television audience, drawing more negative attention to the situation. That doesn’t benefit anyone.