The Dallas Cowboys are holding a private memorial service for fallen teammate Jerry Brown on Tuesday, and it was the unanimous sentiment of the team and staff to invite Josh Brent, who was charged with intoxication manslaughter in Brown’s death, to the service.
While the ethics of the situation are hazy to us from the outside looking in, clearly, the biggest burden Brent is carrying with him now isn’t the prospect of facing legal punishment, but the grief he has for his fallen friend. Jason Garrett and the rest of the Cowboys recognize that being around the team, and having the team be there for him, would be the best thing for Brent right now.
“We want to embrace Josh and let him know that this is a good place for him,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “Being around Valley Ranch, being around his teammates (and) coaches is a good thing for him. We certainly anticipate him being there tomorrow. I haven’t spoken to him specifically about that, but we anticipate it and he’s certainly welcome to be there.
“We’re going to support Josh 100 percent in every way that we can,” said Garrett, who had a one-on-one meeting with Brent and described him as distraught. “The players will do that, the coaches will do that and everyone in our organization will do that. … We all love him and we’re going to be there for him.
“This thing only happened a couple of days ago, so I’m sure you guys understand the situation he’s in and how he feels about the situation, and again, we’re trying to help him get through today,” Garrett said. “It’s a very, very difficult and challenging situation for him.
“Yeah, we’re not into that process right now,” he said. “We’re a couple of days away from that. I think we’re all kind of trying to get our arms around what happened. We’re all trying to be very respectful to Jerry’s family and certainly to Josh’s situation and really just trying to get through today. That’s where we are.”
There have been a few questions raised about how close to toe the line with Brent’s mourning for his friend in regard to everyone else’s mourning for Brown, and how they would feel with Brent in the same space, say at a funeral or memorial service, as them. It’s a legitimate question to ask, but it seems like the Cowboys have the best handle on how Brent is currently feeling, and if they want to make the team a safe place for him and encourage him to come to a private memorial service, we aren’t here to argue.
Additionally, Garrett did not want to comment on Brent’s status with the league and what sort of discipline he faces from the NFL, just another indicator that there are other things on their minds in Valley Ranch right now.
[ESPN.com, Getty Images]