Clear thinking has prevailed as Josh Brent, accused of intoxication manslaughter in the death of Dallas Cowboys teammate Jerry Brown, will no longer be permitted to be on the team’s sideline during games.
The Cowboys have expressed support for Brent, who faces a felony charge punishable by up to 20 years in prison, but the defensive tackle’s presence on the sideline during Sunday’s victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Cowboys Stadium sent the wrong message.
Ed Werder of ESPN cites team and league sources as saying Brent will not be allowed on the sideline for the remainder of the season because it is not appropriate. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and coach Jason Garrett claimed they didn’t know Brent was going to be on the sideline prior to the game.
“It becomes a real sensitive topic to a lot of people when you're in a public place like the game,” Garrett said Monday, according to the report. “There were no bad intentions other than to support Josh as part of our football team. This is a game and you need to be here. That's what our players wanted to convey to him and they really encouraged him to come to the game. I thought Josh handled it beautifully the way that he came and then when he felt like there were some issues he felt the right thing to do was to leave. But we're going to support him in every way that we can. We also will be sensitive to this kind of issue.”
But Jones and Garrett have ultimate control of who walks the team’s sideline and this matter should have been prevented before Brent was there for television cameras to capture.
Separately, a judge has reduced Brent’s bond from $500,000 to $100,000 and ruled he cannot consume alcohol and cannot operate a motor vehicle until he has a valid Texas license.
Brent was convicted of a DUI while playing in college at Illinois, where he was friends with Brown. The family of Brown has publicly supported Brent.
Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs
Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune