The most benevolent organization in professional sports continues to stand by its man. Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent will remain free while awaiting trial for intoxication manslaughter.
He’d been hauled into court Friday morning because prosecutors wanted to revoke his $100,000 bond due to problems with alcohol monitoring. According to witnesses at Friday’s hearing, Brent had repeatedly missed requirements for his ankle monitor to download information, as well as two appointments with his assigned county officer. Brent’s attorney believes that his client is being treated unfairly because of his association with the Cowboys.
“I think we’ve unequivocally established the fact that the district attorney’s office is treating Mr. Brent differently because of the helmet that he wears,” Milner told reporters Friday. “There’s no disputing that now. Everybody down here knew it. Now it’s out in un-contradicted, sworn testimony.”
The district attorney’s office contradicted that statement immediately, with first assistant district attorney Heath Harris saying, “This guy is a repeat alcohol offender that killed someone in our county. We take offense to that.”
Meanwhile, Brent continues to be offered free access to the Cowboys’ practice facility at Valley Ranch. I’m told that Brent remains a very popular player on the team, and that’s played a role in the club’s decision not to release him. It’s admirable that the Cowboys want to support Brent in the aftermath of a tragic event that resulted in the death of a teammate. But they should support him while he’s no longer part of the organization.
From a practical side, why keep a contract on the books when a player won’t be available in 2013? Players and coaches could continue their relationship with Brent whether or not he’s in the organization. Call me callous, but I don’t think there’s any shame in cutting a player who’s on trial for intoxication manslaughter. Of course, I thought the Cowboys should’ve released Jay Ratliff when he was arrested for drunken driving only six weeks after Jerry Brown’s death.
Perhaps the Cowboys would’ve been willing to make that decision had Ratliff not been such a productive player. The club would be wise to try and move on from this tragic chapter. But that’s difficult to do when Brent’s still a member of your organization.
You don’t have to abandon him. Just take him off the roster.
And by all means, keep him off the sideline next season.