Jerry Jones defends Josh Brent's presence on sideline

By Kevin Patra
Updated: Dec. 17, 2012 at 07:33 a.m.

Jerry Jones stood behind the Dallas Cowboys' decision to have Josh Brent, who faces charges of intoxication manslaughter after a drunk driving accident last week killed former teammate Jerry Brown, on the sideline during Sunday's 27-24 overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"Our team and our players wanted him today on the sideline," Jones said Sunday, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "Jerry's mother (Stacey Jackson) 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."

Brent's presence didn't sit well with some, including CBS analyst Boomer Esiason, who called it "disgraceful" during the network's pregame show. "Football players are an example and Josh Brent is the worst of those examples," Esiason said via the Star-Telegram.

We have to imagine that Esiason didn't have all the facts before commenting. The fact that Brown's mother, who has continually supported Brent after the tragic event, asked the team to help the nose tackle and wanted him on the sideline with his teammates means a lot in this situation.

Brent's actions the night of December 8 were ignorant and reckless and it cost the life of his best friend. However, in the wake of tragedies, the worst thing we can do is not discuss them, to sweep them under the rug or banish them from the sideline. Instead, these issues need to be fleshed out in the open and discussed. Ignorance is the greater crime.

Jones also confirmed Sunday that the Cowboys helped Brown's family with the funeral costs.

"We wanted to make sure financially they could really be OK to have the funeral and do everything they needed to do," Jones said via the Dallas Morning News. "We needed to help because there is a period of time that you have when you have some benefits. We helped financially."

The positive moves, an overtime victory and a share of the NFC was a good Sunday for America's Team.