Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Most Pro Athletes Are Given Free Pass, Like Josh Brent, For Example

On the day the Dallas Cowboys paid tribute to the fallen Jerry Brown with a No. 53 decal on the back of helmets and held a moment of silence before the game, Josh Brent was invited to join the team on the sideline Sunday as if he's done nothing wrong.

There's a side of me that just didn't feel right about him being present. There's a side of me that feels this was wrong, though Brown's mother forgives Brent, a third-year defensive tackle, who selfishly took the life of a man who was not just a teammate but a friend. There's a side of me that makes me frown and shake my head in shame after seeing him on the sideline when he was responsible for the alcohol-related, one-car accident that killed Brown. In other words, Brent should not have been on the sideline for the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. He was spending time locked up, but walked out of jail in Irving, Texas, barefooted after his release on $500,000 bond.

There's no way, just no way in hell.

Rather than honoring the fallen linebacker with Brent on the sideline as an awkward tribute and allowing him to even step foot onto the premises, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones should have mandated that he stay away from the team until further notice, until the healing process shrivel or until Brent's verdict. It's time to stop supporting those who commit crimes. And just because Brown's mother doesn't want Brent prosecuted after he was charged with intoxication manslaughter for her son's death, it's not what she or anybody else wants. It's what's right. Right is right. Wrong is wrong.

Brent, whose blood-alcohol level measured at 0.18 reportedly, was more than double the legal limit in Texas. So while the Cowboys are willing to stand by someone who perpetrated this senseless act, Brent could still face a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted. He's the epitome of athletes and celebrities getting away with crimes, a glaring image of what's seen so often in today's world. Money and fame defeats the court of law. Money and fame protects celebrities. Money and fame don't bring justice, but more problems within itself. At this point, it's not about ethics and moral values.

There are, for those who are unaware of our troubled society and how a biased justice system functions nowadays, no hidden agendas for famous people in the sports or entertainment industry. So of course, as a public figure and not an ordinary citizen, Brent can show his face in public and could potentially even avoid a prison sentence because of the name on the back of his jersey and because he plays for America's team. The most gruesome case was when Michael Vick bankrolled a dogfighting ring, and as a nation forgot that he viciously murdered defenseless, immaculate animals, Vick amazingly was exonerated and given the starting quarterback job in Philly, when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sensed he had already paid his debts to society.

Jamal Lewis, after pleading guilty in federal court for drug trafficking, quickly made his return to drive down the field for the Baltimore Ravens. Years ago, Rafael Furcal, found guilty of his second DUI offense, returned hours later and belted a game-winning homer in Game 2 for the Atlanta Braves. It was O.J. Simpson who was found not guilty of double-murder charges, with the help of the most expensive attorney in the late Johnny Cochran. Jayson Williams, who pled guilty to assault for fatally shooting a hired limousine driver, was freed after serving eight months in jail at Rikers.

Millions of people around the world were around when NFL wide receiver Donte' Stallworth was behind the wheel drunk and tragically struck and killed 59-year-old Mario Reyes on a Miami street. It amazed me that he won over the disgraceful justice system, and only had to serve 24 days of his 30-day jail sentence.

The matter of domestic violence is fairly common today and could be tough to control, but when Chad Johnson head-butts his ex-wife, he must serve time to pay the price for his foolish behavior. When Adam "Pacman" Jones face two felony charges alleging he set off a nightclub skirmish that escalated into a shooting and left a man paralyzed, he must spend time behind bars and stare at four walls to pay the consequences for his senseless actions, quite like a typical human being would in the wake of unlawful activity.

A forgiving country, America is known to be. But sometimes it's too forgiving to be quite frank. With all the reluctance this nation has in punishing pro athletes, putting a foot down so it won't happen the next time around, some players from every league don't take their lives seriously and think they can abuse their fame at one's own discretion. Fame is powerful, which can be rather hard to handle if celebrities aren't used to recognition and publicity.

There are no boundaries for pro athletes, at least not in courtrooms where they are granted a free pass, even though they are culpable. That's not likely to change any time soon, sadly, and athletes continuously get away with misdeeds as if they are ever so perfect and mistake-free.

It's morally wrong and it sends a bad message to our troubled society, to our children and our unborn athletes. It's not only a slap in the face to those who are seeking justice, but also a slap in the face to those who have been in trouble with the law and had to serve a longer sentence for something minor or even just as bad as a disturbed pro athlete. Folks, in our prejudice society, grasp a sense that non-celebrities aren't treated equally when it comes to dealing with ethics and ghastly crimes. The point is that the actions are just as repulsive and horrifying as would be with normal people committing the same criminal offenses.

I don't care that you are the next million-dollar man. I don't care that you have megabucks to get you out of trouble. I don't care that you are this well-known doctor, attorney, celebrity or a magic chef with your own cooking TV show on Food Network.

The latest tragedy should be enough to wake up America, but apparently it's not enough to alarm a shameful, impaired civilization. The social structure of America is in so much disarray, and the recent incident that involves Brent, who faces a charge of intoxication manslaughter, is a clear illustration that the legal system is unrighteous, prejudice and disingenuous in a sense.

If you do the crime, you must do the time.