CHICAGO, December 18, 2012 — It’s been over a week now since the car driven by an intoxicated Dallas Cowboy Josh Brent collided with a curb and crashed, killing the only passenger, Brent’s teammate Jerry Brown.
With all of this time to reflect, how can we as a society react to this tragedy? Although our nation is obviously and understandably dealing with something far more serious these days, we can’t forget the tragic end of Jerry Brown’s life and the lesson it can teach every one of us.
Josh Brent was absolutely crushed when he came to realize what he had done and with good reason. Because of his poor judgment in taking the wheel of what is realistically a dangerous weapon under the influence of alcohol, Brent ended the life of his good friend and teammate Jerry Brown, and that’s not something that can ever be forgotten.
But should we forgive him?
It seems that Brent found forgiveness within his organization as well as the family of the deceased with Brown’s mother asking the organization to support Brent in every way possible. Brent is a traumatized man, a heartbroken man, and he needs the help of those closest to him.
And for that forgiveness, the Dallas Cowboys should be commended.
When Brent appeared on the sidelines for Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, a controversy erupted, with hordes of cynics claiming that he had no right to be there. He’s a killer, right? His actions ended his friend’s life, right?
Regardless of this, Brent needs this support now if he hopes to avoid a complete mental breakdown. It’s unimaginable, the pain of realizing and coping with the fact that your idiotic actions led to a catastrophe as profound as this. Brent needs support now if he wants to be able to live with himself the rest of his life. Regardless of how stupid he was on the night of December 8, he doesn’t deserve a life sentence.
Once the healing process is over, however, we all need to remember that the man made a grave, avoidable mistake. Brent’s decision-making killed Jerry Brown, and there’s no escaping that. But what should we do as a society? Comfort him for the tragic and accidental loss of his friend? Or chastise him for being so short-sighted?
This contradiction will live forever.
What we must do, though, is observe just how horrible Josh Brent’s life has become over the past nine days. He lost one of his best friends. He’s facing two to twenty years in prison. His career is all but over.
What we must do is remember the pain on Josh Brent’s face the next time we face ourselves are faced with his December 8th decision and call a cab. Society may never be able to pass a definitive judgment on Josh Brent, but it would be an equally profound tragedy if we didn’t learn from his mistakes.
To contact Nick Goralka, see above to send him an e-mail containing a question, comment, or scathing insult. His work appears in Alley-oops for Touchdowns! and That Liberal Pinko in the Communities at the Washington Times Online.
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