The firestorm from this has been loud and explosive. As with many hot issues, it’s also been polarizing.
The prevailing opinion seems to be that it was inappropriate for Brent to be seen on the sidelines. While I don’t think anyone actually thinks that allowing Brent on the sidelines signaled the Cowboy’s condoning of drinking and driving, many feel that it allowed Brent a privilege he shouldn’t have received.
I don’t see it that way at all.
I saw the Cowboys showing concern and support for Brent. I saw them doing what they could to help Brent through this tragic, horrific period in his life. I don’t see that support as minimizing Brent’s actions of Dec. 8 when he drove drunk and certainly not as condoning them.
Stacey Jackson, the mother of Jerry Brown the passenger who died in Brent’s car that morning, has asked the Cowboys to support Brent. She walked into the funeral service for her son arm in arm with Brent. Brent and Brown were best friends who not only played together on the Cowboys but also at the University of Illinois.
There has been discussion about the extent of the support the Cowboys should offer Brent. Apparently being seen on the sidelines is crossing the line to many. Where’s the line? It’s okay to support him behind closed doors but not out in public? It’s okay to support anytime except the three hours of the game?
Brent should pay his debt to society, and he will. If the court determines that punishment and the mother of the victim is okay with his being supported, why shouldn’t we be okay with that? How far does his punishment have to go?
The reality is that Brent will pay his debt and then be free to live his life. Those close to him are only trying to help him do that as best he can. As they should.
Like it or not, Josh Brent, like most criminals, will be coming back into our society. It’s in all of our best interests to make sure he and they do so successfully. One of the reasons so many criminals repeat their bad behavior is they come out of prison without any good support system and resort to what they knew before.
Josh Brent had a DUI while at Illinois. It clearly appears he has a drinking problem. Here’s hoping he gets the help that he needs. If part of that help is being on the sidelines with those closest to him, so be it.
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