Cowboy Charged With Manslaughter In DUI Accident That Killed Fellow Team Member

Joshua+Price-Brent100px-Dallas_Cowboys.svgThe tragic death of Jerry Brown, Jr. a linebacker on the Dallas Cowboys practice squad, and the arrest of nose tackle Josh Brent, 24, adds another tragic note to this season after the murder-suicide involving Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher. Given a prior DUI conviction and the high visibility of this case, Brent is unlikely to be able to avoid a serious sentence for this alleged homicide unless the blood-alcohol tests can be challenged.

Police charged Brent with intoxicated manslaughter after he flipped his car at 2:21 am with his friend as a passenger. The car appears to have hit the curb and most have been going at an impressive speed if it flipped over.

Frankly, I am always astonished to read about drunken parties for NFL players during the season. These guys have remarkably few games and a short season for which they often earned millions. (Indeed, I continue to agree with many that the season needs to be extended with more games — though yesterday’s Bears loss to the Vikings has left me dazed and confused). Even if the Cowboys are out of the playoffs, they still have games to play and as the eighth seed could still make it into the playoffs. It would seem a small expectation that for the weeks of the season, NFL players would avoid late night carousing and drinking.

Brent pleaded guilty in 2009 to DUI in Urbana, Illinois and was suspended from playing further for the University of Illinois. He was sentenced to two years probation, 60 days in jail, a fine and 200 years of community service.

A report on NFL players arrested show a high rate of DUI cases.

There is obvious a certain fascination if not voyeurism in celebrity cases. Watching a celebrity fall from a great social height tends to captivate average citizens. The question is how Brent’s position should factor into sentencing if he pleads guilty. NFL players are obviously role models for good or bad for children. Should the court consider Brent’s position as a role model as an aggravating factor? He did not ask for such a role but he is a public figure who is generally treated under NFL rules as having social responsibilities. Yet would it be fair to impose a higher sentence due to his status as a football celebrity?

Source: Dallas News

28 thoughts on “Cowboy Charged With Manslaughter In DUI Accident That Killed Fellow Team Member

  1. “He was sentenced to two years probation, 60 days in jail, a fine and 200 years of community service.”

    200 years of community service” (typo?) Hopefully not in MY community . . . .

    Linking this to the procreation case cited in another thread, we had an habitual drunkard around here, several years ago, who a judge ordered, under an ancient statute, not to drink

  2. As much as it would “feel good”, no to a sentencing enhancement for being a role model. But here’s the even bigger travesty. The NFLPA[union] has a ride program in place, just one call and a limo picks you up..24/7.

  3. The ‘Murder-Suicide’ has nothing to do with the DUI….. except that they both involved Pro football players…. Please seperate them in your mind….. The ”Cowboy” who was driving under the influence, who caused the death of his team mate, is apparently a repeat offender. I know the drill, I’ve had a member of my own family who was a repeat DUI offender. It was either prison, or rehab, & then 5 years of probation, for him, and all he did was hit a few parked cars!!! He caused no bodily injuries to anyone. He was then subject to constant scrutiny, with his Parole Officer able to show up for a urine analysis test, at any time of the day or night for 5 years…This Dallas Cowboy should be punished very harshly…. Jail and rehab, for a period of time to be set by the Judge….

  4. I don’t agree that it would be fair to treat him any different that any other average citizen. He is not an elected official, he was not in a position of trust of a vulnerable person, or the usual aggravators that are presently defined by law.

    If we get into the practice of placing sentencing rules based upon arbitrary social strata, there will be no equal justice under the law.

  5. 200 years of community service?

    He should get standard treatment that’s more than a slap on the wrist. A celebrity actually going to jail for the DUI killing of friend sends a message that drinking and driving and speeding are a bad mixture. He’s got a great message to tell kids that might help: I got caught DUI once, nobody got hurt, I paid my dues. Then I got this great career where they paid me a lot of money to play football but I hadn’t learned my lesson. I had too much to drink, went speeding down the road, flipped my car, and killed my teammate and friend. Look at what I’ve lost: a great career and a friend. And I’m going to be spending several years in jail. Don’t drink and drive.

    If he’s allowed to plead to a misdemeanor, put the DA and the judge in jail instead.

  6. 1. The Cowboys are most definitely NOT “effectively out of the playoffs.” But, I’ll forgive the fuzzy thinking as I’m sure yet again another Bear loss is to blame.

    2. No sentencing enhancement for being a pro football player (or other celebs) . . . equal under the law and all that.

  7. I’d be okay with charging him with manslaughter if he killed someone in another vehicle/pedestrian, but its not like the deceased did not know he had a lot to drink and willingly assumed the risk.

  8. He’s too visible and has a prior. There’s no way he avoids prison.Plus, it’s in Texas, where they are not known for leniency.

    And then when he gets out, mandatory AA meetings and sobriety tests.

  9. “No” to a higher sentence given his celebrity status. But it would be encouraging to see severe professional sanctions. Entities that self-police/regulate to a higher standard earn tremendous credibility.

  10. Should the court consider Brent’s position as a role model as an aggravating factor? He did not ask for such a role but he is a public figure who is generally treated under NFL rules as having social responsibilities. Yet would it be fair to impose a higher sentence due to his status as a football celebrity?

    He should receive the same treatment as anyone else in those circumstances, assuming that a crime can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Celebrity and other forms of the ether are concepts that are too difficult to put a finger on.

    Sticking with a solid sentencing formula has a better appearance of stability and consistency doesn’t it?

    Easier sentencing or more harsh sentencing for celebrity is a diversion from the facts that form the crime.

    Celebrity is not a crime, nor is it worshipful when it comes to justice.

  11. Sad case. But not uncommon in the NFL to have drinking issues. I was in court years ago when a Bears lineman was ushered in front of the judge on a DUI. He did not fare too well that day either. Luckily, no one was killed in his incident.

  12. “Should the court consider Brent’s position as a role model as an aggravating factor?”


    Not sure why someone who runs around on Sundays playing a kids’ game should be a role model to anyone but alas they are. I guess it’s TV. Even so, it’s unfair to punish more or less harshly than anyone else simply because of their chosen employment. Here, we have an alleged second DUI offender with a homicide aggravating the situation. A period of incarceration is more than warranted — in fact the situation cries out for it — if he’s guilty under Texas law.

    On the issue of more games, JT and I fundamentally disagree. These are young men brought in from all over the country full of testosterone and machismo and plied with more money than anyone could spend in the cases of the “superstars.” Expecting them to act responsibly says more about our emotional maturity than theirs. And keeping them around town for more games is just an unnecessary threat to public safety.

    There’s an excellent 2009 article in the San Diego Union Tribune tracking all published NFL player arrests and major incidents since 2000. It’s sobering reading. Of 451 incidents since 2000, 128 were drunken-driving charges. Here’s the article:

    Any other organization with this amount of criminal arrest and we’d be looking at a RICO case.

  13. My experience of 30 years in working with substance abuse/addiction is that this guy is not going to stop. His second significant conviction, with some jail time thrown in on the first offense (which I guess he served — although maybe only a small fraction). And he was a good enough ball player — read big enough thug — to get drafted into the NFL despite his character flaws (although it is just those flaws that seems to define a significant subset of pro players). There is some disconnect between his behavior and suffering consequences — probably fueled by money and the attitude that he is bullet proof) that maybe a few years in jail can rectify. — he hasn’t learned to modify his behavior. Again, I doubt it he’ll stop, because on release he is likely to pick up playing where he left off, and pick up abusive drinking as well. He’ll either come out of jail/prison 50-75 pounds overweight, or buff and muscled and ready to create more mayhem. The NFL machine seems to have no problem rewarding social reprobates (witness Michael Vick).

    Of course, Brown may just be, or be working his way up to diagnosable, stone cold alcoholic. In which case all of the above still applies.

  14. I’d lay money that this guy never plays another down of football in the NFL. He’s likely going to jail. Even under the best of circumstances, careers are short in the NFL for guys like Brent, who was a late round draft pick. Time away from the game will erode his abilities. Between two guys with near equal playing ability, teams will go with the guy without issues. He’s going to pay a high price for his bad decision.

  15. Pardon my cynicism AND naivete.

    I have always perceived Celebrity to be mitigating as opposed to aggravating. Also Wealth, Social status, Political standing, Local “connections”, etc.

    The theory of Law in our Democracy supports equal justice for all, regardless of status. PuShaww and Harummph.

  16. Mepso – I’d disagree with you simply because I have know some outstanding athletes when they were young. I have no idea what the character would have become had they grown up under the rules of decent society. But given that they were allowed all manner of excess and all absence of consequences, sports molded their character it did not reveal it.

    It taught them because they could do things other kids could not they were therefore allowed to do things other kids could not. That followed them from the time they excelled up through college in the ones I saw & appears to be something that is accentuated by the time they are a professional.

  17. FRankly:

    My experience with these at-risk kids is that somewhere there is some authority figure making sure they get to practice, work hard, and follow the rules. Sometimes sports is the carrot that motivates them but I’ve yet to find where it turned a kid around without help from someone. I’ve seen the coach fill this role but it’s very rare.

  18. I agree with Waldo on this. No to using ‘role model’ as an aggrivating factor. Although I don’t especially like Charles Barkley, I remember a few years ago when some reporter asked him about how he felt being a role model for kids. His response was that he wasn’t a role model for anyone and that the kids parents should be their role model. Apparently, being a ‘role model’ is something that this player has no control over, so it shouldn’t matter in his sentencing. Treat him like anyone else who finds themselves in a similar situation.

  19. WHERE IS BOB COSTAS??? Shouldn’t he be having fits about people drinking alcohol right about now? Or does he not CARE about death by alcohol, only death by gunshots? Bob, your plasticisity is showing! He’s just not really so outraged by this one, from what I’ve seen.

  20. An outstanding share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a coworker who had been conducting a little research on this. And he actually ordered me breakfast because I discovered it for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending the time to talk about this subject here on your web site.

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