Jerry Brown’s death was tragic. No way around it. Josh Brent’s decision to drink and drive was beyond stupid and it cost the life of a dear friend of his. He doesn't deserve a second chance. None of us ever do. If he gets a second chance it’s not because he deserves it, but it’s because people see that he is truly contrite about it and is looking for it to be different in the future. You want to keep him out of football as a punishment, fine, but that doesn’t nearly weigh as heavy as the burden he will carry the rest of his life. The decision he made to drink. The decision he made to drive. And the part he played in his dear friends death. He doesn't deserve anything. Second chances aren't something that is earned. It’s something that is given. Not because we deserve it, but because people want to offer forgiveness and opportunity for you to show that you have changed. Through the forgiveness that the Brown family has offered to Brent, he can have a second chance. Were there no forgiveness from the family, it's unlikely there would be a second chance.
I have a story, it doesn’t compare in the gravity, but it hits home with me and it’s something I will never forget for as long as I live.
By trade I am a nurse (yes, Gaylord Focker, Male Nurse, Murse – let's get all of them out of the way). I’ve been so for 9+ years working mostly in intensive care units. For a time I was working at a hospital for a supervisor that I really respected, and I enjoyed my job. My wife was working for the same company as the hospital, but for a rural clinic where she was the sole provider and had been building a practice. Over one summer while working there, they made plans to close her clinic. A place she had poured her heart into, that they really weren’t giving a chance. It was a very frustrating time for her and for me. I was stuck, watching the company begin to close this practice that meant a lot to her.
Long story short, I was very frustrated at work. Frustrated at administration and frustrated about everything. In one staff meeting, being frustrated, I let my emotions get the better of me and I was blatantly and rudely insubordinate to my supervisor in front of other co-workers. I didn’t realize it at the time. I was too frustrated to see anything that I was doing.
About a week later she sends me an email and asks to meet with me and the Vice-President of Nursing the next day. I knew something was up, so I went to see my supervisor in her office on my day off. This is when she told me what I done. This is when she told me that she could fire me. After thinking back to that situation, I was immediately remorseful over the way that I had treated this person that I respected and even cared about. I apologized. She accepted and offered forgiveness and a second chance. The next day we met with the VP of Nursing and talked about everything that happened and I talked about how I was going to learn from this mistake, be more respectful, and just change my attitude toward the administration. The supervisor and VP agreed to give me a written warning and file it away. I got a second chance, not because I deserved it, but because they saw the remorse and willingness to change and believed that I would learn from my mistakes. I deserved to be fired. I deserved that humiliation. I deserved to clean out my locker and be escorted out by security. But administration thought I should get a second chance. I’m very thankful for it. It made me a better person, a better nurse, a better leader, and a better husband. I will always remember this situation and the people involved in it.
Again, my situation isn’t the same as Brent’s. Not even close. But there is a parallel. Josh Brent will never forget what he did. He will even have a hard time forgiving himself. He will carry this weight for a long time. There is no excuse for what he did. I think he will tell you that. He is trying to change. His admission into a treatment center shows that. Time can only tell if he has changed. If he does play in the NFL again, and that’s a big if, I think the Cowboys should be the one to give him the chance. Not because he deserves it, because he doesn’t. If he gets an opportunity, it won’t be because he earned. It will be because people want to give it to him. I for one would like to see him playing for the Cowboys again.
All of that said, I understand that this is a difficult subject and alcohol has affected the lives of many people. I understand the black and white approach taken by many to this situation. My hope here is that none are offended by my words, nor feel judged. My goal here is to offer a perspective to this situation.