NFL Moral Dilemma

Josh Brent, former defensive tackle for the Dallas Cowboys, may be reinstated into the NFL and put back on the team. This may not seem like news, until you know that he recently left rehab. Even further, he was in rehab because his friend and fellow player, Jerry Brown, died after a drunk driving accident in which Brent was at the wheel.

Brent blew a 0.18 after being arrested. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail and 10 years’ probation for intoxication manslaughter. Jerry Jones, the owner of the Cowboys, says that Brent could be helpful in creating the new defensive lineup for the team. Though Brent could seriously help the Cowboys’ defense, the question comes up as to whether or not reinstatement would be ethical. The same question came up in 2007, when Michael Vick was arrested and sentenced for running a dogfighting ring and then reinstated into the NFL in 2009. Many people took issue with the NFL’s decision to let him back in, and called for the NFL to keep him out. They did not see the reinstatement as a way to make amends; they just saw it as the NFL letting him off easy

Jerry Jones believes that Brent could be a great example of regaining credibility and fixing past damages by playing football again. However, the case can be made that letting Brent back into the NFL demonstrates the league’s support of light punishment for valuable players. Share this article with young adults and talk about organizations holding their members accountable for their actions:

  • Do you think that Josh Brent should or should not be reinstated into the NFL? Why or why not?
  • How do you think organizations like professional sports teams and even large corporations should deal with members who commit crimes?
  • Do you think that completing a jail sentence is enough to show that someone has changed his/her ways? What else might be done to show that the person has righted his/her wrongs?
  • Put yourself in Brent’s shoes. What do you think would be the best way for him to make amends for his mistakes?
  • Based on your understanding of forgiveness and reconciliation, what do you think should be Brent’s next steps?