Monday, December 17, 2012

Cowboys are Right in Supporting Teammate

On Sunday the Dallas Cowboys continued with their late season surge by defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime 27-24. Receiving just as much attention as the win and now three-way tie for first in the NFC East was the presence of one person on the sideline with the Cowboys.

Josh Brent.

Yep, the same guy that is responsible for the death of another teammate, Jerry Brown; Jerry died due to injuries suffered in a car accident in which Josh was driving with a BAC twice the legal limit (.18 I believe is what he tested at).

How in the world could they do this? This guy's irresponsibility caused one of their friend's, one of their teammate's to die? He's out on bond even (half a million) awaiting the eventual trial that could see him face a couple decades in prison for intoxication manslaughter!

What in the world were the Cowboys thinking? And on national television?

During the game plenty of stories popped up all over the internet criticizing the move and bashing the Cowboys organization for allowing it. Phil Simms had a pretty nice rant over it and Bill Cowher chimed in his disapproval of the move.

Totally understandable; after all, he did kill a person because he was driving drunk.

As deplorable as many people seem to think the move was, it was exactly the right thing to do.

Josh did a horrible thing. No one knows that more than him. While Jerry as a friend and teammate to the rest of the Cowboys, the relationship between Jerry and Josh went back into college. These guys were much more than friends because they were on the same team; they had much more of  relationship then that.

So when it comes to the gravity of the situation and the seriousness of the consequences, no one knows it better than him except Jerry's mom. It was in fact Jerry's mom that requested that the 'Boys do just what they are doing; that they don't hold this over Josh, but support him in what is now his time of need.

When the mother of the deceased request you do something, how can you say no?

I'm sure many people would say its easy, but there is no telling is her request is even why the team did what they did.

Every team that has every been involved in sports--no matter what the sport is--talks about being family; about the close bonds that are necessary for success; that are forged by the test of battle on the game field and the work put in to get there. Every coach on Earth wants his team to be there for each other; to support each other through thick and thin.

Success on the game field is hard to come by otherwise, but the lesson (if it is real and actually works) transcends the game and becomes a part of life for the players and coaches involved.

Leaving Josh Brent to his own devices would have been the wrong thing to do here. One life has already been lost in this tragic accident--and it was an accident even if you look at it as he chose to drink and drive. There doesn't need to be another one.

This doesn't mean you approach this situation with rose colored glasses; that you try to get Josh out of trouble or make excuses for him. The Cowboys are certainly not doing that. During the game Sunday the announcers even mentioned how the team wants and expects Josh to be punished for his crime; they recognize that he deserves that.

They also recognize that it was not a malicious act, but an extremely stupid one that turned tragic.

If we turn our backs on the people we call family whenever they do something incredibly stupid, what does that say about us?

Josh Brent is not the first person to commit an unspeakable act like this. Wide receiver Donte Stallworth killed someone a few years back while driving drunk; not a passenger--he hit a pedestrian. Michael Vick consciously chose to kill a number of dogs (yes, I know; dogs are not people, but he was not under the influence is the point).

Ray Lewis was under suspicion for murder at one time, but received a sweetheart deal in exchange for his testimony against two others (who knows what part he actually played; that never came out), yet he was welcomed back with open arms and will go down as one of the greatest linebackers to play the game.

Heck, the circumstantial evidence that was all over the media made it look like Ben Roethlisberger was not just a one-time sex offender, but a repeat offender (that was never prosecuted so technically he is not a sex offender--just someone with really questionable morals and really good friends).

The point is that this is not the first time that a pro football player has done something like this, but it is the first time that I can recall there being such widespread commendation of the person and the team for supporting him.

Could it be that the media--all the bloggers, Phil Simms, Bill Cowher, etc.- that are bashing the 'Boys for supporting Josh Brent are doing so because Brent is not a household name and major star?

If we are going to hate one criminal then we need to hate them all; but then if we did that a lot of the games biggest stars and performers would be ostracized.

And we all know that will never happen.

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