After a few months of waiting, a formal trial date has been set for the pending intoxication manslaughter charges against Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent, alleged to be responsible for an alcohol-involved crash which killed his friend and teammate, Jerry Brown on October 8, 2012.
Brent will face trial beginning September 23rd, presumably in Dallas County where the local District Attorney has filed charges. It’ll be a long summer of waiting for everyone involved in the case– from Brent, to Brown’s family (who has already forgiven Brent publicly) to a Cowboys organization that faced heavy scrutiny for their decision to allow Brent to in essence remain with the team, and be on the sidelines for the final few games of the season even after the incident.
Should Brown be convicted of the charges pending, he could face as much as 20 years in prison, but given the fact Brown’s family has forgiven him and he appears remorseful for his actions — and to our knowledge has no prior offenses — it’s highly unlikely he’ll receive the maximum sentence possible even if he is convicted.
It’s also unlikely that the NFL will issue any punishment in terms of Brent’s future in the league until the legal proceedings take place, but that isn’t to say the Dallas Cowboys should wait for that day to see what happens. It’s one thing to give someone a second chance and stand by them when they are dealing with adversity, but the business side also beckons — and we know Jerry Jones‘ history in that regard.
While Jones has never hesitated to take in troubled players in the past (see PacMan Jones, Tank Johnson) he also hasn’t had much heistation to part ways with these same guys when the trouble of trying to keep them out of trouble became too large a burden.
Sure, September is a long way off and Dallas may find they need Josh Brent more than it appears they will in looking from the outside in five months before the pre-season starts. As harsh as it sounds, however, they would be best served to plan for a future without him — as if he won’t be available — than to hope for what seems impossible given the evidence.
Call it pragmatism I suppose– sometimes the business side isn’t sunshine and daffodils.