Reporting Mike Fisher
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IRVING (105.3 THE FAN) – You think the Dallas Cowboys should cut Josh Brent as he awaits his September trial on intoxication manslaughter charges? Fine. There are any number of justifiable reasons to do so, including sending a moral and ethical “tough-on-criminal-stupidity’’ message through the locker room and through the fan base.
You think the Cowboys should cut Josh Brent because the Patriots cut Aaron Hernandez?
You may be moral and ethical, but you are failing in the ability to grasp nuance.
Hernandez on Wednesday was hauled away in handcuffs as officials in Boston are investigating his involvement in a murder. Within minutes of the scene being shown on live national TV, the Patriots acted swiftly by announcing the release of the star player.
Meanwhile, Josh Brent is free, on bond … quite possibly in front of a TV set watching the Hernandez drama unfold.
Somebody died. An athlete was involved. So naturally, any moral and ethical person should see that the circumstances should be handled in exactly the same manner, right?
For the sake of argument:
*Maybe the Patriots know enough about the details of the case to be able to predict that Hernandez’ football life is over. Meanwhile, maybe the Cowboys know that Brent could get probation and be eligible for the NFL again in 2014. Because for all of the “morals-and-ethics’’ bleating, New England might’ve hung onto Hernandez for one more day if it was playing in the Super Bowl on Wednesday.
*Or maybe the Cowboys believe that rather than “sending a message’’ of intolerance that benefits the team in the long-term, their message of brotherhood toward Brent is important, too. The mother of the friend killed when Brent was driving certainly thinks so, which is among the reasons Jerry Brown Jr.’s family has urged the Cowboys to maintain their embrace of Brent.
*Or maybe, quite simply, someone views alleged involvement in a premeditated murder as being different than involvement in a drunk-driving accident. Is there not room for nuance between the sloppy, stupid and tragic mistake of drunk driving and the psychopathic action of premeditated murder?
Among Brent’s problems: He is scheduled for a bond hearing to investigate whether he violated a recent court order by smoking marijuana. If Brent is guilty of that, the judge can revoke the bond and send the defensive lineman to jail.
That would be an opportune time, and an appropriate time, for the Cowboys to say enough is enough. They could tell their locker room and their fan base that the action isn’t a “stand against drugs’’ because drugs are already illegal and no stand is necessary. Rather, it’s a stand against Brent thumbing his nose at authority, authority that holds Brent’s future – football and otherwise – in its hands.
If Josh Brent responded to the authority by figuratively blowing smoke rings at it, his friends inside the locker room will be made to understand that a line was crossed.
But it’s a Cowboys line and it comes with deep thought and nuance. If it was black-and-white and firm, maybe the Patriots should’ve cut Hernandez last week. Maybe Ray Lewis should’ve never been allowed to win a Ravens Super Bowl. Maybe Jim Harbaugh’s DUI should preclude him from coaching the 49ers.
And how ethic do you want your NFL to be? Maybe, in the wake of the NCAA’s ruling on Cheatin’ Chip Kelly, the Eagles should fire him this instant.
But those are Ravens, 49ers and Eagles decisions. They have nothing to do with the Cowboys.
And what New England has done is a Patriots decision. It also has nothing to do with the Cowboys, who – upon learning for certain that Brent failed yet another test of respect for authority, his employer and himself – should cut Josh Brent.
But not because of Aaron Hernandez. Just because of Josh Brent.
(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed)
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