by Tommy Gimler
From what I’ve heard from several foreigners, if you drink and drive in many European countries, you lose your license for life. In Japan, if you have a blood-alcohol level of just .03 while cruising in your Mitsuoka Galue, you could be slapped with a 15-year prison sentence. But in this country, if you decide to drive while intoxicated, as long as you’re a professional athlete or Lindsay Lohan, carry on.
Last Saturday morning, Dallas Cowboys nose tackle Josh Brent was charged with intoxication manslaughter after rolling his vehicle and killing his friend and teammate Jerry Brown in the process. Today, just eight days later, he was on the Cowboys sideline watching his team defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime, and that is an embarrassment to not only the Dallas Cowboys organization, but also the entire NFL.
Look, everybody makes mistakes. Just yesterday, I stuffed my gut with a lethal combination of Christmas cookies and Budweiser, and my poor wife paid the price for sleeping with me in a poorly ventilated bedroom. And I also get that America is a forgiving country, and everybody loves a comeback story.
But sooner or later, you have to send a message to players and the children and fans who emulate them that killing your best friend because you were driving while intoxicated, murdering innocent animals, domestic abuse, getting caught doing lines of weasel dust off of cheerleaders’ poop chutes, brandishing your piece to the public at 2:30am, simple assault, complicated assault, felony assault, and whatever else these turds are doing in their free time is not only something that won’t be tolerated in this league, but will carry a stiff penalty in real life as well.
No support system. No game time with other friends and teammates. No attending the funeral of the guy you just killed. You’ll get nothing and like it. Keep in mind, Brent had already been arrested for DUI in 2009 in Illinois while playing college football, and obviously that slap on the wrist wasn’t hard enough.
So, obviously the second time around, there would be a much harsher punishment waiting for him, right? Not in the Big D. In the case of Brent, the Cowboys have pretty much done the exact opposite, choosing to place him on the reserve/non-football injury list. That means that the nose tackle won’t play another game this season, but if the Cowboys choose to do so, they can still pay him the rest of this $490,000 salary.
So, if I’m a twelve-year-old kid at home, and I see CBS show Brent every five minutes in his XXXXL Cowboys sweatshirt and eight-pound gold cross around his neck, I’m thinking that drinking and driving and killing my teammate in the process must not be that bad of a thing. But if I see ESPN show Josh Brent in some orange prison gear sobbing like a little bitch behind bars just half as much as they show Tim Tebow practice highlights, I’m going to hesitate drinking anything before I get behind the wheel of grandpa’s hand-me-down Oldsmobile in a couple of years.
It’s pretty disgusting, really. “Rosie O’Donnell in a bikini” disgusting. Too many athletes and celebrities are getting off too lightly for acts of stupidity that would cost regular guys and girls their jobs and/or their freedom. At the same time, it is becoming less shocking every time you see some clown like Brent on the sideline at an NFL game only eight days after being responsible for his teammate’s death and more shocking when you see an athlete or up-and-coming future star actually get punished for committing a crime: