The Dallas Cowboys won a tough overtime game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, but they sparked a small controversy on the sidelines rather than on the field. Defensive tackle Josh Brent, who was charged with intoxicated manslaughter last week, was on the sidelines during the Cowboys' win.
Brent’s mistake caused practice squad member, Jerry Brown Jr., his life. But there was a reason Brent was allowed on the sidelines.
"Our team and our players wanted him today on the sideline," Jerry Jones said Sunday, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "Jerry's mother (Stacey Jackson) asked us directly as a group. She said, 'Support him. Help him. He needs your help. Jerry wants that. I want that.' His teammates asked him to come and be down there with them."
But not everyone felt the same way about the situation. CBS analyst Boomer Esiason thought the move was a “disgrace” and openly criticized it during the pregame and halftime shows.
“Football players are an example and Josh Brent is the worst of those examples,” Esiason said.
Nobody will attempt to defend Brent’s actions from the night of December 8th, certainly not me. His actions were inexcusable and reckless to say the very least.
However, if Stacey Jackson can forgive Brent, invite him to sit during the funeral services with the family and ask the team to support him, then I can’t be too upset with the Cowboys having him on the sidelines.
If this were the business world, for the sake of argument, let’s say Brent was an ESPN TV personality, he would’ve been sent home without pay and ESPN wouldn’t even mention his name on air unless it had to.
Brent is still a part of the Cowboys team and family. On Sunday they treated him that way. Rather than treating him as an outcast for making a mistake, they are supporting him and allowing him to be around his team—just as I’d imagine anyone would do with his real family members.
I don’t believe the Cowboys would’ve made this gesture if Stacey Jackson didn’t personally ask for the team’s support. And I for one applaud the Cowboys organization, but most of all, Stacey Jackson.
She lost her son and continues to support a close family friend. That’s something that I couldn’t imagine doing myself. So if she has no problem with Brent being on the sidelines, than we shouldn’t either.