Everyone deserves a second chance.
That phrase has made it’s way into society these days and it certainly is true. We all make mistakes, we’re not perfect and everyone deserves a second chance to atone for their mistakes.
The problem is that phrase has been taken out of context by Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys as an excuse for them to bring back defensive lineman Josh Brent after serving time for intoxicated manslaughter in an accident that killed his friend and teammate Jerry Brown. And the bigger issue is that this isn’t his second chance–it’s his third and fourth with a history of issues.
And given the attention that comes with a drunk driving death and conviction, it would be best served for the Cowboys if they decide not to bring him back to the team.
First off, bringing back a guy that killed his teammate while driving drunk will be yet another black eye for the league in the legal department. A little under two weeks ago, the NFL was (and still is) blasted for it’s two-game suspension of Baltimore Ravens’ running back Ray Rice for a domestic violence charge (though it never went to trial) which many rightfully saw as weak by the league. With another controversial player, though as low-key as he may be, coming into the league, it will likely further the view of the league by many as weak on crime, whether it truly is right or wrong. And if Commissioner Roger Goddell is truly concerned about the image of the league, he would put down quite the lengthy suspension on Brent to keep critics at bay.
Also, there will be tremendous backlash from other groups because of this move as well, much as there was when Michael Vick came back into the league after serving jail time for a dog fighting ring, except this time it’s correctly warranted. I highly expect Mothers Against Drunk Driving to do something to protest Brent coming back to the team and playing again. I also expect plenty of jokes to come out from regular fans about the Cowboys as well, and while it likely won’t seriously damage the Cowboys’ reputation in general, it doesn’t help it.
Finally, Brent’s not really even that good of a player. Sure, Dallas needs help along a defensive front that could be the worst unit on the team this season, but Brent likely isn’t the answer to solve that issue. The local news stations around here have only one onfield highlight of Brent making a sack that they show over and over. In all, he has only 44 NFL tackles and 1.5 sacks. For a guy convicted of intoxicated manslaughter, those aren’t stats that normally get you back into the league.
Of course, as I mentioned earlier, everyone deserves a second chance. Vick got it after doing his time for his dog fighting ring as well as others before; however, as I also mentioned earlier, this isn’t Brent’s first time making a mistake of this caliber. In 2009 while in college, he was arrested for misdemeanor DUI, driving with a suspended license and speeding. For that, he spent 60 days in jail and two years probation. Because of that incident, he was forced to go into the NFL supplemental draft–where players kicked out of college usually go. And, unlike Vick, he hasn’t shown any signs of doing any public service to speak out against the crime he committed.
Sure, Brent made a mistake that a great number of people make every day, but that doesn’t excuse him from paying for his actions. While the mother of Brown is willing to forgive and help Brent move on and the Cowboys want to help him out, he shouldn’t be allowed back onto the field and there are other ways that the team can help him out off the field.