Despite my excitement for the upcoming Cowboys season, and the fact that most people are still picking them to be a playoff team once again, this offseason has been nothing short of incredibly annoying. When off the field issues become a distraction, it’s going to be a big story for any team, but especially when its a team as popular as the Dallas Cowboys. Between the suspensions on the defensive side of the ball, the potential Ezekiel Elliott suspension, and all the questions about his off the field actions that have come out, everything has been very distracting and very annoying to a football team that does not want to talk about this, but it is all the media wants to talk about. The Lucky Whitehead situation is the latest event to occur. Here is a timeline of the events that have taken place for Whitehead and the Cowboys since June 22.
- June 22, 1:30 AM: “Lucky Whitehead” is arrested for shoplifting in Prince William County, Virginia
- June 22, 7:18 AM: Lucky Whitehead boards a plane from Dallas to Washington DC, evidence via his plane ticket
- July 6: Lucky Whitehead fails to show up for court in Virginia for “Lucky Whitehead’s” shoplifting arrest
- July 16: In a completely separate incident, Lucky Whitehead reports on Instagram that his dog was kidnapped and was being held for ransom by the kidnappers
- July 18: Lucky Whitehead reports via Snapchat that his dog had been returned home safely
- July 23
It is reported that Whitehead was arrested on June 22 and failed to report to court on July 6
The Cowboys, already under question for off the field character issues, including ones last season involving Whitehead, release him. Whitehead maintained that he was not even in Virginia on June 22.
- July 24
Prince William County Police drop all charges against Lucky Whitehead after realizing this was a case of a mistaken identity. However, the Cowboys maintain their decision to release him.
This situation is extremely unfortunate for the Prince William County Police, the Cowboys, and Lucky Whitehead himself. I’m going to look at the support and blame that all three sides can be given for this timeline of events.
Prince William County, Virginia Police Department
Support- This was completely a case of a mistaken identity, and it just by their bad luck happened to be someone who has somewhat of fame. “Lucky Whitehead” did not have identification, but provided the name (Rodney Darnell Whitehead Jr.), date of birth (June 2, 1992), and, somehow, Social Security number (432-17- just kidding, we’re not allowed to know that, and situations like these are why no one can know your number) as Lucky Whitehead of the Cowboys.
Blame- The mistake of the justice system cost this man his job, and that is NOT okay. If someone does not have ID on them, police need to go through all measures possible to confirm someone’s identity. It also sounds like the Prince William Police Department is among those protesting the name of the R-Words and not watching their games, as you’d think maybe someone would realize who Lucky Whitehead was considering they’ve played him 4 times in his two seasons as a Cowboy.
The Dallas Cowboys
Support- The Cowboys released Whitehead after the news came out that he was arrested and also that he failed to appear in court. The Cowboys have already come under scrutiny for the amount of players facing discipline or being questioned for incidents, and didn’t need another distraction like this. Whitehead has been a decent kick returner and special teams player since replacing Dwayne Harris in 2015, but a big point that no one is talking about is that Whitehead was probably not going to make the team anyway this season. Whitehead hasn’t done much damage at his listed position of Wide Receiver, and the Cowboys drafted Ryan Switzer out of North Carolina (who has reportedly impressed so far), so Whitehead’s status on the Cowboys roster was anything but definite anyway. It should also be noted that last season, Whitehead was late to a Saturday walk-through, and Jason Garrett told him not to get on the flight to New York to play the Giants. Whitehead was also involved in a car accident last season, and Garrett heard first from the media, not Lucky himself.
This is where the Cowboys were wrong. While scenarios where players say they did nothing wrong is usually just them trying to save their asses, the Cowboys should have waited at least until the next day to gather up more facts before releasing Whitehead, especially since the truth was revealed the next morning. Like I mentioned, Whitehead is expendable, so I doubt Jason Garrett will be losing any sleep over this decision, but this is still a bad look for the Cowboys, even though they were just reacting the way that would be right in 99 out of 100 similar scenarios. They release a player who has played two seasons for them based on false information. While he was probably going to get cut in training camp anyway, Lucky Whitehead has earned every right to compete for a spot on the Cowboys roster.
Support- The same reason I blame the Cowboys. Lucky Whitehead had every right to compete for his roster spot, and was completely screwed over by this false arrest and the Cowboys quick decision to part ways with him. He has every right to be upset that the Cowboys did not support or believe him when he literally did nothing wrong. It’s not like he was a witness or someone and was caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was not there and did absolutely nothing wrong.
Blame- Obviously, he has no reason to be blamed for the situation that has unfolded. Like I noted earlier though, he was probably going to get cut anyway, so the Cowboys saw no hesitation based on his on the field performance and off the field actions of last year.
My final verdict is that Lucky Whitehead should not have been cut by the Cowboys. The Cowboys look bad here, but fans and the media need to understand that he was not likely to be on this roster come Week 1 anyway. Hopefully this will blow over soon and not be a distraction to this team. It was clear today that Jason Garrett was not bothered by this team parting ways with Whitehead and wants to move on from losing an expendable player as quickly as possible.
While losing Whitehead means almost nothing to the Cowboys on the field, I’ll admit that I’m sad to see him go because he’s a player I liked and was clearly among the more popular players in the locker room.
Thanks for the past two seasons, Lucky. Just don’t have any career performances against us in revenge in the future.