By Derek Franks
“At this time, we believe this transaction is simply the right thing to do.”
This is the sentence that ends the statement issued by the New England Patriots regarding their release of murder suspect and former tight end, Aaron Hernandez.
And if the ignorant and oft-confused owner and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones, had any common sense, integrity or guts, it would also be the end of the statement regarding the release of nose-tackle Josh Brent.
Judging by past decision-making, we all know that Jones, as stubborn as he is, rarely—if ever—displays those characteristics. And for now it would seem, that common sense so desperately sought by Cowboy fans everywhere, will elude him once more.
Brent, who last October, while intoxicated to a point almost three times the legal limit, brought it upon himself to get behind the wheel and drive 134 miles an hour until he crashed, killing his teammate and long-time best friend, Jerry Brown.
Since then, it’s been one embarrassing storyline after another for Brent and the organization. A mere days after the arrest and release on $100,000 bond, he was on the sideline, still bandaged from the accident, smiling and high-fiving teammates during the Cowboys-Steelers game, putting a whole new dark and twisted meaning to the phrase, “in good spirits.”
In May, he violated the terms of his bail by failing a drug test and then later he was accused of tampering with an alcohol-monitoring device. Now, it would appear, in June he failed another drug test, this time landing him back in jail, bringing a new, sad and unfathomable meaning to the phrase “downward spiral.”
And he’s still on the Cowboys’ roster. He’s still listed on their website. He still has a locker in the Cowboys locker room. And he still has a chance to— pending a series of court appearances and rulings— avoid going to prison, and technically be eligible to play in a Cowboys uniform again.
That possibility should never come to pass.
And yet here Brent is, still a Cowboy. Why do you ask? Jones, and all his infinite wisdom, has justified this baffling decision with the explanation that he still thinks Brent can contribute.
Really, Jerry? Really?
First of all, Brent wasn’t really contributing in the first place, even when he was a full-time starter. Secondly, we know that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is going to come down hard on Brent for violating the personal conduct policy. He won’t be playing this year, that’s a fact.
But third of all, and most blatantly obvious, he killed someone. And in the time since he killed someone, he has consistently shown that he doesn’t learn, doesn’t care, doesn’t comprehend the gravity of his actions.
Mr. Jones, we’ve questioned your ability to run this franchise because of outright awful decision-making regarding your team’s players and personnel— almost non-stop since the day you arrived and declared dictatorship. You’re refusal to step back and let the team run like a normal professional football organization has spoiled almost every fragment of history, tradition, credibility or honor of the Dallas Cowboys. The construction of the monstrosity that is Cowboys Stadium has led to the destruction of principles that any team should abide by, substituting what’s important (competitive football and respect for fans and tradition) for grandiose facades filled with distractions and empty “aesthetic” calories.
And this is the last straw.
Never mind the argument of whether or not Brent should be immediately released by the team. That’s a no brainer. Every common sense, slightly moral individual in America can agree with that.
No, this is the argument that Jerry Jones has no right to call himself owner and GM of the Cowboys any longer. He’s completely embarrassed the franchise to a point of no return, disgracing the Cowboys name and while doing so, shamefully neglecting and humiliating the entire organization and fan-base.
There’s no doubt Goodell will suspend Brent. But while he’s at it, he should look into suspending Jones (expelling works too). After all, by not releasing this player, it can very much be argued that Jones is violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy as well.
In all honesty, personal conduct is something that always has, and always will escape Jerry Jones. This latest charade only solidifies that statement.
Outside the Cowboys’ practice facility locker room a sign reads: “It is a privilege—not a right—to play and coach for the Dallas Cowboys.”
Jerry, it’s a privilege to own them too. Whether you paid billions for it or not. That sign might as well say, “Jerry’s rich so do whatever you want.”
Judging by the Brent situation and the product that’s been on the field for the past decade, we can’t be so sure it doesn’t say that already.