FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The day after the Dallas Cowboys pulled off an overtime win over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Cowboys Stadium, the team’s head coach, Jason Garrett, found himself defending a decision made off the field.
Cowboys nose tackle, Josh Brent, who is facing a charge of intoxication manslaughter for the car crash that killed his friend and teammate Jerry Brown, was allowed to stand along the sideline for most of the game.
Brent was placed on the Cowboys non-injury reserve list after the crash. He is currently out of jail on $500,000 bail and scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday morning for a bond hearing.
Both Garrett and Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones, have said publicly that the team will support Brown as he deals with consequences of the crash.
In his Monday afternoon news conference, Garrett said neither he nor Jones knew ahead of time that Brent would be on the sidelines.
“I didn’t know he was going to be there and I saw him prior to the start of the game and really that was a result of the wishes of Stacey Jackson, Jerry Brown’s mom, who stood before us at the memorial on Tuesday and really encouraged everybody and almost made a plea to everybody to keep Josh in our family and to keep him close and support him in every way that we can,” said Garrett.
The passionate debate began when CBS football studio analyst Boomer Esiason expressed his disgust with the decision.
It’s the last thing I thought I would see today I think it is disgraceful by the Dallas Cowboys to put that young man on the sideline, said Esiason, during the NFL Today halftime show. “Football players are an example, and Josh Brent is the worst of those examples.”
The CEO of Mothers Against Drunk Driving also criticized the team’s decision.
“We definitely expressed disappointment and our message really was it was disheartening yesterday. It was disheartening for all other victims in the community that may feel differently,” said Debbie Weir.
Weir says she supports Brown’s mother’s wishes, but says Brent standing on the sideline sent a mixed message. She says Cowboys executive vice-president Stephen Jones called her to discuss the situation.
“I think at this point, they regret that it happened and that they understood that it sends the message out that can definitely be mixed,” said Weir.
Coach Garrett says while they are fully supporting Jerry Brown’s family, the team is not condoning drunk driving in any way. He says they are supporting Brent as a family member.
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