Cowboys Under Fire For Allowing Josh Brent On Sideline During Sunday’s Game

It was just a week ago that Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Josh Brent was arrested after an automobile accident that killed teammate Jerry Brown Jr. Brent was found to have been legally intoxicated at the time and faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. He’s not currently an active player for the team but, during yesterday’s home game with against the Pittsburgh Steelers, he was on the sidelines with his team, a move that generated much negative commentary:

Jerry Jones stood behind the Dallas Cowboys’ decision to have Josh Brent, who faces a charge of intoxication manslaughter after a drunk driving accident last week killed former teammate Jerry Brown, on the sideline during Sunday’s 27-24 overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“Our team and our players wanted him today on the sideline,” 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.”

 Brent’s presence didn’t sit well with some, including CBS analyst Boomer Esiason, who called it “disgraceful” during the network’s pregame show. “Football players are an example and Josh Brent is the worst of those examples,” Esiason said, via the Star-Telegram.

Now, it is worth noting that Brown’s family asked Brent to sit with them during his funeral and that the Cowboys contributed a significant amount to the cost of Browns’ funeral. Indeed, yesterday was the day that the team formally acknowledged Brown’s death by wearing his number on their helmets. At the same time, though, I can’t help but think that Esiason had a point. Yes, he is innocent until proven guilty in a Court of law, but there’s something unseemly about having a guy who drove drunk and killed someone one, facts which do not reasonably seem to be in dispute, treated in this manner.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. he is guilty until proven innocent in a Court of law

    Freudian slip?

  2. Gah. This is what happens when you type too fast. Fixing.

  3. Ben says:

    Yes, he is guilty until proven innocent in a Court of law,

    Nice slip there.

  4. @Ben:

    Yes, yes. It’s fixed

  5. James Joyner says:

    Hey, I knew what you meant. But, in this case, while his legal culpability and punishment are yet to be adjudicated, the facts of the case are not in dispute. Brent was drunk, he crashed his car, and his friend died. He’s publicly acknowledged all of this.

    But he’s also offered his heartfelt apologies, which the victim’s family have apparently accepted with amazing charity. I see nothing inappropriate about his teammates still treating him as a member of their family. It’s probably good for all concerned.

  6. Dixon says:

    that’s ok, a female DD killed my cousin and got a slap on the wrist and a write up in the paper about how she was a good girl who made a bad mistake……..oh and MADD exploited his widow and child for their financial gain.

  7. Geek, Esq. says:

    Maybe the Chiefs should have a shrine to Jovan Belcher on their sidelines.

    I understand that the mother of the victim wants extra-charity to the guy who killed her son, but this is not helping to make the case against drinking and driving.

    The guy belongs in a cell, not enjoying privileged treatment.

  8. JKB says:

    @Geek, Esq.: The guy belongs in a cell, not enjoying privileged treatment.

    hey, relax, this guy can play football and that is all that matters. As long as you are good at sports, you can do no wrong.

    But the part to watch is if he gets special treatment in the prosecution of this homicide. But until his trial, there is no reason he shouldn’t be out on bail, assuming he’s not drinking.

  9. Boyd says:

    I thought Esiason’s rant was over-the-top. Supporting a friend after they’ve made a tragic, even fatal, mistake doesn’t provide a bad example. A bad example would be not trying/convicting a football player for the crime because they’re a football player.

    But saying, essentially, “Even though you screwed up big time, you’re still our friend” is what I would consider to be a good example. They’re not saying he shouldn’t go to jail. They’re saying “we still love you.”