The Dallas Cowboys honored late practice squad linebacker Jerry Brown by putting No. 53 decals on their helmets for Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
And the man who allegedly killed Brown in a drunken wreck was there the whole way, standing on the sideline.
Josh Brent, the defensive tackle facing felony intoxication manslaughter charges, was there to support his teammates on Sunday at Cowboys Stadium, just more than a week after the wreck. Onlookers have accused Brent of doing little to assist Brown as he was dying in the burning wreck.
The Cowboys have placed Brent on the reserve/non-football injury list and have said they will remain supportive of him. He carried one of Brown’s jerseys during the game. Owner Jerry Jones defended Brent being so public for the game after CBS analyst Boomer Esiason called it “disgraceful.”
“Jerry's mother asked us directly as a group to support him, help him,” Jones said of Brent, according to Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio News-Express. “She knew Josh loved her son. She said, 'Josh needs your help. Get his back, he needs it. Jerry wants that. I want that. We want you to be supportive of him.'
“His teammates wanted (Brent) down there with them. I do know that certainly there's the other side of the coin, that there will be criticism.”
It is understandable that the Cowboys want to remain supportive of Brent but it’s our opinion that doing it publicly like this – with Brent a cheerleader on the sideline – sends the wrong message when it comes to accountability. Police have said Brent’s blood alcohol level was more than double the legal limit at 0.18 and his friend is dead.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune