Way back in 1996, there was a Peter King column that quoted an anonymous Texan saying of the Dallas Cowboys, “If this is America’s team, then woe is America.”
That was a different era. Violent crime in the United States peaked in the 90s, and the Cowboys of that time were doing their part to keep up the crime rate (violent or otherwise), getting popped for everything from high-level drug trafficking to sexual assault to weapons charges to DWIs.
Since then, crime has dropped dramatically in the United States, though not necessarily on the Cowboys’ defense, which now has four of its members — linebacker Damien Wilson, cornerback Nolan Carroll, defensive end David Irving and defensive end Randy Gregory — facing consequences for acts of lawlessness ranging from violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy to, as of Tuesday, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Dallas Cowboys linebacker Damien Wilson has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, Frisco police spokesman Ryan Chandler confirmed Wednesday.
Wilson was arrested on Tuesday evening at Toyota Stadium. Chandler said he did not know what kind of weapon was used, or if the incident occurred in the stadium or the parking lot.
Wilson, 24, has posted bond and been released. Each charge carried a $10,000 bond. The charges are second-degree felonies punishable by two to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
Last week, news broke that Irving would be suspended four games for taking performance-enhancing drugs. In May, Carroll was arrested for DWI after leaving an event celebrating his arrival in Dallas. And Gregory is likely to miss the entire 2017 season for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.
It should be said that these alleged misdeeds are not equivalent to each other. Whatever you think of taking PEDs or recreational drugs, we can probably all agree we’d rather have our fellow citizens doing those things than driving drunk or assaulting people with deadly weapons. Likewise, holding employers accountable for the off-time behavior of their employees presents its own philosophical and logistical challenges.
But still: Sheesh.
According to the most recent Cowboys’ depth chart, that’s two starters and a backup defensive end, plus a 2015 second-round pick facing suspensions or possible jail time with two months to go before the 2017 NFL season begins. If these were injuries, the Cowboys’ defense would be said to be “decimated.”
Back in 1996, the theory went that coach Jimmy Johnson had been the force keeping the Cowboys under control, and that when it was just Jerry Jones and Barry Switzer watching things, the Cowboys went wild. Plus something about Dallas itself.
“What you’re seeing now,” (sports psychologist Don) Beck says, “is the Jerry Jones personal-value system–unconstrained, no boundaries, if it feels good do it–plus the invincibility and intoxication that comes from winning three Super Bowls in four years. Add the culture of Dallas itself, which is high-status, high-living and very fickle, and it becomes a very dangerous mix. These players see that if you have money, you can get away with anything.”
It’s been a long time since the Cowboys could be accused of being drunk on success. Likewise, Dallas may not be Green Bay, but it isn’t Gomorrah, either. The Devil didn’t make you do it. Every man is responsible for his own choices.
That all said, it would be to the benefit of both America’s Team and the city of Dallas if the organization could slow this type of news to more of a trickle.