To Forgive is Human, At Long as He’s a Cowboy

I try to talk about things other than the Dallas Cowboys on this site. And I definitely don’t like writing here about things not actually related to sports. But sadly, here we go.

No, I don’t have a ton of sympathy for Josh Brent, who’s reckless, uncaring actions left his former Illinois college teammate dead on the streets of Irving less than two days before the Cowboys’ game in Cincinnati. No, I don’t have a problem with the NFL office, desperate to put humanity in a league completely devoid of it, saying no, they don’t want a killer on their sidelines.

The crash that killed Cowboys practice squad member Jerry Brown was not an accident. It was completely preventable. Josh Brent had to know full well he had no business getting into the driver’s seat. He wasn’t even allowed to drive had he been sober – all he had was a suspended out-of-state driver’s license. His decision to drive with a BAC of twice the legal limit was a clear statement that his friend’s safety was not a concern. If it was, he’d have swallowed his pride and called a cab. If Dwayne Goodrich had ever spoken to Brent. it’s clear he didn’t get the message.

Yes, I’m sure he gets it now. And yes, I’ve heard all the pleas from Brown’s mother.

And before you judge me to be some holier-than-thou, glass house living, cast-the-first-stone prick, full disclosure: I have never been a perfect driver. But every time I have gotten a traffic ticket, I wanted to cut my license into a million pieces and never get behind the wheel again, because I knew my recklessness endangered the lives of everyone else on that road. But never have I gotten behind the wheel intoxicated; in fact, the horrors that have come from drunk driving are among the big reasons I don’t drink at all. (And NO, I’m not calling for a ban on drinking, don’t try to pin that on me.)

Is my anti-football, anti-Cowboys stance clouding my own judgement? Always possible. But maybe I’d be a little more sympathetic if I hadn’t seen such lack of sympathy toward others of late for being in less-than-worse situations.

Earlier this year, former Mavericks guard Jason Kidd was also in a drunk driving crash – one that thankfully everyone walked away from. Because he had signed with the Knicks just weeks earlier, he was prime fodder, and he was a target of ridicule for the Dallas area Twitterverse and airwaves.

But it’s not just related to athletes. Jane McGarry lost her job as the long-time news anchor at KXAS NBC 5 after being arrested for drunk driving. If my Twitter feed was to be believed at the time, some hosts at a certain sports radio station I don’t listen to humiliated and basically verbally abused her for the incident. (Again, I can’t verify that personally, but I have seen that station to be jerkasses toward women, especially those in media, sports or both.)

That same station also appears to still ridicule their former employee Gregg Williams, fired in 2007-08 for getting hooked on drugs. Greggo’s former co-host still won’t speak to him.

Then there’s the hate relayed at athletes for nothing more than actions on the field. Nellie Cruz still gets vitriol for Game Six in the 2011 World Series, as if people assume he meant to misplay that fly ball just to ruin THEIR lives.

And then of course, there’s the other Josh. Josh Hamilton lackadaisically dropped a fly ball that cost the Rangers the division, said bye-bye to the Rangers and signed a cash-laden deal with the hated Angels, saying in his press conference that the team and the fans in Texas never really wanted him. Cue the few baseball fans in North Texas taking after Cleveland fans and burning Hambone jerseys.

All of the above committed acts that the people in DFW apparently believe to be unforgivable and deserving of scorn.

None of the above acts led to the death of a human being.

Josh Brent’s did. He gets support and forgiveness.

Yes, he’s sorry for his actions. Supposedly, so was Jovan Belcher after killing his girlfriend. If Belcher hadn’t fired one last shot at himself, should we have then forgiven him for putting nine bullets in his baby’s mother?

My own preferences and biases can and do cloud my own judgment, probably much more than they should; I have never denied that. But you can’t tell me other are biased in the opposite way when that offer an olive branch to someone with blood on his hands and vitriol toward others who don’t.

You want me to be forgiving of people like Josh Brent? Try being a little more forgiving to others who don’t make tackles for the Dallas Cowboys and made mistakes with less devastating consequences.

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