Dallas Cowboys Coach Gives The Same Non-Answer 10 Times
News reports revealed last week that Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Lucky Whitehead had been arrested for shoplifting $25 from a Virginia convenience store. Wasting no time, the Cowboys cut Whitehead from the team later that day.
There was only one problem: He didn’t do it. Virginia police admitted the next day that this was a case of mistaken identity—and that Whitehead not only didn’t commit the crime, but hadn’t even been in the state when the crime allegedly occurred.
Under those circumstances, you might think the Cowboys would apologize and welcome him back onto the team. But that’s not what happened. Instead, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett defended the team’s decision to cut Whitehead during a press conference by repeating the same evasive statement 10 times.
Garrett’s non-answers added more confusion than clarity and did nothing to shed light on the team’s seemingly capricious decision. Here are a few of the direct quotes from his press conference (full transcript from ESPN is here):
“Yesterday we made a decision that was deemed to be in the best interest of the Dallas Cowboys. We’re standing by that decision. We’re going to move on.”
”Yesterday we made a decision we felt was the best interest of the Dallas Cowboys. We’re going to stand by that decision. We’re going to move on.”
“I’ll stand by the statement that I made. We made a decision yesterday that we felt was in the best interest of the Dallas Cowboys. We’re going to stand by that decision. We’re going to move forward.”
“Yesterday we made a decision that we felt that was in the best interest of the Dallas Cowboys. We’re going to stand by that decision. We’re going to move forward.”
Garrett’s evasiveness cost him. Reporters who cover the Cowboys skewered his repeated obfuscations. Here a few of their tweets, as collected by the Dallas Morning News:
Here’s the strangest part: Garrett expanded upon his non-answers in an interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
“As we gathered more information on that particular situation and the conversations we had with Lucky about that situation, and we put that in context with his career with us, we felt it was in the best interest to release him…We evaluate the situation and how it was handled by the player after the incident and we evaluate the body of work. When you have someone in your program in this environment and they don’t grow, and they make the same mistakes over and over again, it’s time to move on.”
That statement makes more sense. While the team might have cut Whitehead for an incident that didn’t occur, it sounds like they were on the cusp of cutting him anyway due to repeated incidents.
It makes me wonder: Why didn’t Garrett just say that in the first place?
Note to Coach Garrett: I’d be happy to send you a free copy of The Media Training Bible. A preview is below.