Cowboys Bias Makes Media Miss the Mark in Josh Brent Coverage

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Dallas Cowboys Josh Brent’s retirement a week ago somewhat cooled the seemingly universal condemnation of the team’s decision to keep the defensive tackle on their offseason roster. Brent is still awaiting his court date for intoxication manslaughter charges stemming from the December death of his friend and Cowboys practice squad player Jerry Brown.

Despite a growing fervor among the experts in the national media, the Cowboys stoically refused to cut Brent. Expert commentary on the matter ranged from cynical theories suggesting Cowboys owner Jerry Jones cares only about Brent’s talent, to unsourced “inside-the-organization” reports suggesting the staff might be turning on Jerry over the matter, to self-righteous condemnation for not cutting Brent the way the Patriots cut Aaron Hernandez (as if intoxication manslaughter has anything remotely in common with premeditated murder).

Dec 2, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys nose tackle Josh Brent (92) on the sidelines against the Philadelphia Eagles at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Expert speculation was gaining momentum on the way toward full-blown righteous outrage when Brent quashed the matter with his abrupt retirement. But it was nothing more than the same old lazy analysis from a national media that struggles to see past its dogma and cover the Cowboys fairly.

The truth is Brent’s roster spot was a non-story at worst, and at best it was a great human interest piece about nascent steps taken down the long, painful road of personal healing and redemption. The Cowboys told us they wouldn’t cut Brent. They told us exactly why. And their reasons were laudable. Head coach Jason Garrett laid it out very clearly the day after the crash:

“What we want to do as players, as coaches, as an entire organization is let (Brent) know that he should be supported everywhere he turns. That’s what we want to express to him. It’s a very challenging situation for him.”

What’s hard to understand about that? The reality is, two lives were destroyed on the morning of December 8, 2012, and the Cowboys are trying to save one of them.

It won’t be easy. Surely every day, Brent relives what he did. Leaving the bar; opening the car door; twisting the key in the ignition – fateful choices, seemingly inconsequential in the moment, that he wishes to God he could snatch back.

Many reading this have made similarly stupid choices at some point, but without the tragic consequences: There, but for the grace of God, go I. Brent killed his best friend; try for a moment to comprehend the guilt and self loathing. Imagine looking into the anguished face of your dead friend’s mother. Brent probably wishes he was dead, and Jerry Brown had lived. Walk a mile in his shoes – wouldn’t you wish that?

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Tags: Dallas Cowboys Josh Brent

  • Ronald W. Jones

    I have NO sympathy for Josh Brent, especially when he has made the same BAD decisions in the past.(in Illinois) and was given another chance. In the end, he got one too many chances and it cost Brown his life. I’ve made BAD decisions in my life, but NONE have ever led up to the death of a friend, or anyone for that matter. There are consequences for that BAD decision Brent made that night….and Brent should face them for a change.

    • John

      Brent is going to face them. Everyday for the rest of his life. I never suggested he shouldn’t. I can only speak for myself, but I was 25 once, and I was an idiot from time to time. My heart goes out to everyone involved in this whole sad experience. I don’t think a temporary offseason roster spot was worth all that fuss, and I think the way the media played it made them look small.

  • disqus_kLJwdEdnOL

    Unless you have had your head in the sand for the past 15+ years you would know that Jerry Jones has earned every bit of the criticism he receives from the media. And in regard to Josh Brent, it is difficult to feel sympathy for a man who constantly makes bad decisions. This one cost Brent dearly but what about the person who was killed and his family? Yet when the media expresses their dislike for the Cowboy’s handling of the matter it is labeled as bias? Jerry Jones dropped the ball on this one period.

    • John

      I hear what you’re saying about Jerry, and I don’t disagree that he’s earned some fair criticism, but his personnel decisions since the season-ending blow-out loss to Philadelphia in 2008 have been pretty solid. No one really notices because of what happened the 20 years prior. I won’t argue the dogma isn’t earned; I’m just saying it’s lazy, ’cause Jerry’s been a different kind of GM these past four years. Admit this much, you know that story is covered differently if Brent is a Patriot…

      • disqus_kLJwdEdnOL

        Yes I agree. The story would most likely have been handled differently if Josh had been a Patriot. The fact is, he wasn’t.

    • Jaikman

      You probably watch MSNBC too? You need to think for yourself once in a while, that was a good article. Stop watching NFL Network and soaking up the rubbish they sell!

  • JoeDaBeast

    “Josh Brent hates himself. You would, too.”
    I would have hated myself so much, I would have probably failed TWO drug tests too! It makes me wonder how much “illegal” activity they had done together and never got caught.