MURRELL COLUMN: Cowboys more inartful than unlucky

Published 2:40 pm Saturday, July 29, 2017

The behavior of the Dallas Cowboys away from the practice field is not a concern to me.

Arrests and suspensions then and now will always leave a cloud of suspicion over every team in the NFL, and the suspicion would be correct — this league has some bad boys.

That hasn’t stopped me from following the Cowboys closely since 1991, and it hasn’t stopped you or me from watching the NFL. As much as I love fall colors — where I’m from, it’s a natural amusement park — we have to have something else as colorful to look at. We’re still four months away from Thanksgiving, you know.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Football is going to go on, as will the personalities behind the game. Ezekiel Elliott just has to know the difference between being a student-athlete who can be sheltered from the limelight away from the field and an athlete who might be followed all the way to his vehicle by big brother.

If he didn’t lead the NFL — let alone the Cowboys — in rushing, not one true Cowboys fan would pass up the opportunity to say: “I don’t know about this kid. If he’d quit getting himself in trouble, he might get a 1,000 yards.”

Right now, the consensus is for Elliott to figure out life as a grown man. He’s got the athletic life down pat.

And, if the NFL suspends Elliott a couple of games, what’s it really going to hurt Dallas, anyway? This team is unpredictable every year. The Cowboys have lost with superstars, and they’ve won without them.

Damontre’ Moore (two games), David Irving (four games) and Randy Gregory (entire season) will miss time for violations of the substance abuse and performance-enhancing drug policies. While it’s alarming enough all three are Dallas defensive linemen, I barely know who they are. Come on, next man up.

(If you’re concerned, by the way, who the next men up are, the Cowboys are high on rookie Taco Charlton, Benson Mayowa is coming into his own, and DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford and Cedric Thornton are veterans.)

All coach Jason Garrett did in addressing the Lucky Whitehead misfortune was repeat in a public relations manner: “Yesterday we made a decision that was deemed to be in the best interest of the Dallas Cowboys.” This was one day after Whitehead was cut following the arrest of a man who police say misused Whitehead’s identity in his home state of Virginia.

Whitehead was cleared and the Cowboys still cut him. The transaction is within the Cowboys’ rights, but hiding behind a PR line in standing by the now-unlucky Whitehead couldn’t be more inartful. A little more explanation for standing by the cut in the aftermath of the arrest would suffice.

This is the type of off-field foolishness I’ve come to expect from Dallas. Patrick Duffy couldn’t be handed a crazier storyline.

If a team’s poor performance has to be blamed on one or a select few individuals missing in action, the team isn’t good enough to win. The New England Patriots proved that.

The Cowboys aren’t laughable because a select few get in trouble or the team sometimes does some questionable stuff. Every team is like that.

They’re laughable because, for being Forbes magazine’s most valuable NFL franchise, they have won only two playoff games since the 1996 season, the season after they last won a Super Bowl.

After 26 years of shouting “How ‘Bout Them Cowboys?” even I have to laugh at them sometimes.


Inika report

Austin-based released the second and final episode of the free documentary “Inika McPherson: It’s Not Over” on Wednesday.

McPherson will jump during the qualifying round of the IAAF World Championships on Aug. 10, with the finals scheduled for Aug. 12. McPherson finished third in this year’s U.S. outdoor championships to qualify for Team USA’s world team.

McPherson matched her career best of 1.96 meters, or 6 feet, 5.16 inches, this year at a meet in Madrid. But Russian Maria Lasitskene has been on a tear, recording the 11 best jumps (six of them at 2 meters flat, or 6-6.74). Lasitskene’s best is 6-9.1, or 2.06 meters.

I.C. Murrell can be reached at 721-2435 or On Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

email author More by I.C.