Dallas Cowboy Josh Brent’s appearance on the sideline of the Sunday game against the Steelers has raised more than a few eyebrows and has drawn the ire of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and now Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones. This morning Brent has been banned from the field through the end of this season.
Brent’s appearance on the sideline last week should not have been a surprise though, the Cowboy organization has claimed that they did not know he was on the field until the game was underway. Jones and Cowboy Coach Jason Garrett failed to make key management decisions to ban Brent from the sideline in advance of the game or if that decision was made, failed to notify field staff so that they could prevent his entry to the field.
Brent, to his credit left the field in the third quarter when he realized that he was becoming a distraction for his team. From my perspective as a sports fan and a public relations consultant, I believe Brent should have been banned from the field and I would go so far as to order him to not wear any Cowboy logoed gear until he is cleared of wrong-doing, which sadly will likely not happen.
All that said, I agree with the Cowboys for standing with their staff member and offering their support, but allowing Brent back to work or back to the office or in this case, back on the field is just not right.
The team needed to consider many different things before making their decisions, but these should have been made before last weekend’s game: impact on staff and teammates, reaction from fans, from sportscasters, from the NFL and internally from the aspect of if he has broken the ethics, personal conduct or other portion of his contract with the team.
The Cowboys now a potential post season team did not need the distraction that the accident has caused, but what has really hurts the team is the distraction not only from football, but from the family of the teammate – Jerry Brown, that was lost.
Brent needs to receive the support of his family and friends, but he needs to do so away from the Cowboy organization, where he only adds pressure on the team and brings more attention on himself. In addition, his attorney should be cautious of bringing undue attention on himself as some of his comments could be brought negatively into court. Public comments during court cases are important and can help the public remember that the assailant is human and subject to mistakes, but it is something that must be very carefully considered.