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December 16, 2012

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones defends having Brent on sideline despite criticism

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he stands behind today’s decision to have defensive tackle Josh Brent on the team’s sideline for the Pittsburgh game despite criticism from network television analysts and some Cowboys’ fans.

Jones said Brent, who is facing charges of intoxication manslaughter related to last week’s death of former teammate Jerry Brown, joined the Cowboys on the sideline for the team’s first home game since the Dec. 8 accident because that was the desire of Stacey Jackson, Brown’s mother. Jones said Jackson specifically asked team members to support Brent, Brown’s best friend and roommate, because the family loved him and urged the Cowboys to “give your brother love.”

“Our team and our players wanted him today on the sideline,” Jones said. “Jerry’s mother asked us directly as a group. She said, ‘Support him. Help him. He needs your help. Jerry wants that. I want that.’ His teammates asked him to come and be down there with them.”

The move triggered negative feedback from some Cowboys’ fans, who responded via Twitter and email once it was reported that Brent was on the team’s sideline. During Sunday’s telecast, CBS analyst Boomer Esiason called it “disgraceful” that Brent was standing with his teammates. During the network’s pregame show, Esiason said: “Football players are an example and Josh Brent is the worst of those examples.”

Jones said he realizes “there’s the other side of the coin” in regard to Brent’s situation but he stood by the team’s decision despite any criticism it generated. So did coach Jason Garrett, who said the move was “initiated by our players” and aimed at honoring Jackson’s wishes.

“She considers Josh a son and she loves him very much,” Garrett said. “We’re going to try and support him every way that we can.”

The Cowboys began Sunday’s game with a moment of silence for Brown as well as the victims of Friday’s shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

_ Jimmy Burch


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