The Matter of Character with the Cowboys

Training camp underway in Oxnard, California

We’ve heard the Cowboys talk about it for years now. Owner Jerry Jones and head coach Jason Garrett continue to use that one magic word whenever given a chance, and there’s been plenty of chances over the last couple of weeks.

The word – character.

But is it just a word to throw out there or is it something that is actually lived up to?

It seems like there’s something new every day with the Cowboys, and that hasn’t been a good thing. Dallas just cut ties with Lucky Whitehead after the wide receiver reportedly had a warrant out for his arrest after failure to appear in court over a shoplifting charge in Virginia. He was originally charged last month.

Combine all of this with the issues surrounding running back Ezekiel Elliott, which could lead to a suspension from the league, or linebacker Damien Wilson’s “road rage” incident in Frisco over the Fourth of July that involved a parking spot, and the shock value of seeing the words “Cowboys player” and “incident” begins to wear off. In fact, nobody is shocked at all anymore when a Cowboys player gets in trouble. They are more shocked if a Cowboys player isn’t involved.

Those are just a few examples. There’s more but why waste the time. We already know the drill.

Of course, character was brought up during Sunday’s opening press conference. Garrett talked about how critical it is to the organization and how much he loves the character on the team.

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 “We built this team over the last five or six years with great character guys,” stated Garrett. “We believe very strongly in that – that’s the kind of team we want to have – that’s the kind of organization we want to have.”

O.K. – then what about accountability and does it even exist?

Now we get to the underlining factor of why character and accountability may just be buzz words used after the fact. It all comes down to what happens on the field. Winning trumps everything, not just for the Cowboys but really for any professional sports franchise. Sure, a guy may be let go to send a message. Chances are it wasn’t someone who could make a significant impact on winning a championship.

So, the Cowboys may live with the “boys being boys” mentality if the end result equals winning. If the Cowboys are the last team standing at the end of the season with the Lombardi Trophy in hand, would all the drama be considered worth it? It was in the 1990’s when the Cowboys won three Super Bowls with teams that had their own set of issues.

Garrett can talk about character all day but in the end the decision belongs to Jerry. Bottom line - Jerry is going to do what Jerry wants to do and Jerry wants to win.

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