Jerry Jones made a promise to the mother of Jerry Brown.
Brown was tragically killed when the car he was riding in crashed in the early morning hours of December 10, 2012. His Cowboys teammate, Josh Brent, was driving the car and survived. Brent was charged with intoxication manslaughter in the death of his good friend Brown.
Cowboys’ management, especially owner/GM Jerry Jones, reached out to Brown’s mother, offering their condolences and support. She wanted just one thing – for Jones to take care of Brent and stick with him, no matter what happens. Brown’s mother made Jones promise her, and he agreed. Her son was gone, but her giving heart focused on Brent with love and concern for his well being.
Executive VP Stephen Jones confirmed on Tuesday that the Cowboys have reached out to the NFL to discuss Brent’s possible return to playing once he has served his sentence. It was a hot topic on Dallas radio (both sports and mainstream), and rightfully so.
Drinking and driving is a serious issue, especially when connected with unfortunate fatalities. Should Brent have gotten a harsher punishment? Certainly, but that’s not for us to control or decide.
I’ve always embraced tough situations as opportunities, especially ones that were polarizing or included negative connotations. That’s what the Cowboys have right now – an incredible opportunity to make a positive impact, and it has nothing to do with football.
Football-wise, can Josh Brent still play and be productive for a defense that needs all the help it can get? Who knows? That’s probably the only angle the Cowboys will focus on here, but they need to embrace the moment and situation, one that is much bigger than a game.
By all means, the Cowboys should re-sign Brent. Absolutely. Again, can he play? Well, for one thing, a parking cone might be more effective against the run than some of the talent on this roster, so (in football-only-terms) it makes sense.
But that’s not the point, nor the opportunity.
The Cowboys should hold a press conference to announce the re-signing of Josh Brent, welcoming him back with open arms. With that welcome should come a promise and a commitment, to Brent and the entire team, and most importantly the fans – that the Dallas Cowboys will be leaders in educating the public about the dangers of drunk driving, with everyone from players, coaches and management involved.
A new program could be founded in the honor of Jerry Brown that concentrated on school and group appearances, as well as public service announcements during games. Brent would be at the forefront, along with many of his high-profile teammates. Oh, and one more thing – the Cowboys could donate $1 (or more) from every ticket sold in the 2014 season to alcohol and substance abuse organizations to aid in the growth of education and awareness.
This is how you do it, Jerry. The Salvation Army effort can continue at Thanksgiving among other charitable programs, and those are certainly wonderful, but it’s time to step up.
Announce that Brent has re-signed with the Cowboys, and then make the other 90 percent of the press conference about the program, and stress that everyone in the organization is completely on-board and behind it.
There will be many who will scoff at any notion to bring Brent back. OK, fine, but what would you rather do with him? Simply send him on his way? Make him someone else’s problem? Or would you like to turn a huge negative into an impactful message? If the Cowboys believe he can help their football team, go ahead – sign him up. But don’t forget the most important item – the part that really matters.
Give Brent counseling and training. Give him an outlet to tell his story, to warn high school students of the dangers of mixing alcohol with driving. You think those students will be all-ears in those assemblies?
Talk about impactful speaking that hits home.
NFL players and teams are followed by millions, and the fans pay attention to all the details. They are begging for reasons to cheer and support their heroes.
You want to make the biggest impact possible, Jerry? Get the Cowboys in front of the problem that is drunk driving and be true leaders. We’re talking about human beings here and there is no doubt in my mind that a program with the power of the Dallas Cowboys brand behind it will save thousands of lives. And just one life is worth more than anything the team can win on the field.
Can you think of a better way than to give Brent’s grieving soul a purpose greater than football? You made a promise, Mr. Jones. Jerry Brown’s mom is counting on it.