It has been almost four weeks since Josh Brent was sentenced to 180 days of jail and 10 years of probation for intoxication manslaughter. The sentence follows a December 2012 car accident that killed claimed the life of Jerry Brown, Brent’s then teammate and close friend.
Brent was behind the wheel. Reports have Brent’s blood alcohol content at 0.23
The relatively light penalty, considering the circumstances, has been criticized. To possibly face 20 years and only get 6 months does not seem right. With the national epidemic of drunk driving deaths, severe punishment was expected. The organization, M.A.D.D., Mothers against Drunk Driving, are the biggest opponent of drinking and driving. One mother in particular has shown great compassion for Brent though.
Stacey Jackson, mother of Jerry Brown, forgave Brent for the death of her son. She even asked him to sit with her and her family at a private memorial for her son. She urged the Dallas Cowboys organization to keep him around the team and not shun him. Brent was seen on the sidelines of a Cowboys’ game after Brown’s death. Critics, cited his presence as insensitive and inappropriate, among other things, even though Jackson found no problem with it. The organization’s front office claimed to be unaware of his presence, which would be his last appearance around the team in the public eye.
I understand Brent is to blame for Brown’s death. The legal process has concluded and the guilty verdict confirms that. However, circumstances leading up and surrounding that fateful night still present curious questions that we may or may not ever get answers for.
An autopsy found Brown to be sober, with a blood alcohol content of 0.056, below Texas’ drunken driving standard of 0.08 percent. Testimony of a forensic toxicologist estimates Brent consumed 17 standard size drinks, resulting in a bac of .18, more than twice the legal limit of .08. Why would the drunk friend drive and the sober one take the passenger seat? Especially when the NFL has a program in place for players who have been drinking.
According to police, neither man was wearing a seat belt at the time of the accident. Brent walked away with no injuries, while during autopsy Brown was found to have a dislocated neck and a bruised spine.
A club promoter claims, via Twitter, 12 other Cowboys’ players were also at the Dallas nightclub Privae. Reports have Brent stumbling, over his feet and words, during a field sobriety test. No one noticed the state he was in at the end of the night? No one tried to prevent Brent from driving?
To put it very simply, this tragedy could have been avoided. But, as our hearts and prayers should be with Jackson and her family, let us take her advice and not leave out the one person who may need love, support, and help the most: Josh Brent.
His future with the Cowboys is unknown. He deserves a second chance but maybe somewhere else. Whatever happens in his professional life, it is his personal one that will prove to be difficult moving forward. He is responsible for the death of a friend, a teammate dating back to their days at the University of Illinois. He has to live with that fact for the rest of his life. That pill is too big to swallow.
Follow O’Cephus Starks
Photo courtesy of www.tracking.si.com