Lutz Blog

Bob Lutz: A mother forgives the Cowboys’ Josh Brent

Dallas Cowboys tackle Josh Brent could play in November, provided he meets conditions handed down by the NFL on Tuesday.
Dallas Cowboys tackle Josh Brent could play in November, provided he meets conditions handed down by the NFL on Tuesday.

How would you feel?

Your son, who played for the Dallas Cowboys, is killed in a car crash in which the driver and teammate, Josh Brent, is driving while intoxicated.

Brent and Jerry Brown Jr., a linebacker who was on the Cowboys’ practice squad at the time, were driving home at the end of a night of partying when Brent lost control of his Mercedes and crashed on a suburban Dallas highway. The first officers to arrive, according to reports, said Brent was trying to pull the his friend’s body from the wreckage.

According to prosecutors, Brent was driving as fast as 110 mph. His blood alcohol level of 0.18 percent was more than twice the legal limit. In January, he was convicted of intoxication manslaughter and sentenced to six months in jail. Brent spent the final 45 days of his sentence at an alchol and drug treatment center and has been working out at a performance center in McKinney, Texas, since his release.

The NFL said Tuesday that Brent must first serve a 10-game suspension and that his return to the NFL is conditional on staying out of legal trouble and “any prohibited alcohol-related conduct will likely result in an immediate suspension and potential banishment from the NFL.”

And here is part of what Brown’s mother, Stacey Jackson, told the Dallas Morning News on Wednesday.

“My beautiful son is in heaven now, and Josh has to be given a chance to live his life and do something for someone else.

“We all make mistakes, and we all have an entrance date and an exit day. Although I miss Jerry every day, I know he would be very happy that Josh has another chance to play football.”

Situations like this are out of my pay grade. If it were me who had lost a son in a similar circumstance, I’m not sure I could ever forgive. I’m not sure the thought of forgiveness would even enter my mind.

Then again, we do not know much about the relationship between Brent and Brown, or Brent and Brown’s mother. We are left to examine this situation, and the mother’s reaction, from only the surface. It’s impossible for us not privy to their relationship to gain clarity.

The words from Jackson, though, are profound. And they’ve made me think, as is always the case when forgiveness is granted from such dark places. Jackson went on to tell the Morning News that she was happy to see Cowboys owner Jerry Jones fulfill his pledge to her about giving Brent a second chance.

“Josh doesn’t have to answer to you or me,” she said. “He has to answer to God, about what he has done with his second chance. Who has he helped with this opportunity that he has been given? I (would) have to answer to why I didn’t forgive him and live out my life with taking care of my family.”

Jackson’s faith, obviously, is at work here. She has forgiven Brent, but also challenged him to use his second chance to help others.

I commend her. But how many of us would do something similar in this situation? We might hope we would. We might even try to forgive. But would we be successful?