The Cowboys have had a bizarre week of so, culminating in Monday’s news of a shoplifting arrest for receiver Lucky Whitehead, a clumsy “it wasn’t me” defense pushed to the infobots by Whitehead’s agent, and a swift decision by the team to reject the claim of mistaken identity and to cut Whitehead.
Regardless of whether there’s any merit to David Rich’s Eddie Murphy/Shaggy claim that Whitehead isn’t the guy who was arrested in Whitehead’s home county in Virginia, it’s clear that it wasn’t a one-strike, zero-tolerance move to move on from him.
“We evaluate the situation and how it was handled by the player after the incident and we evaluate the body of work,” coach Jason Garrett said Monday, via Clarence E. Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “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.”
Cowboys executive Stephen Jones insisted that the release of Whitehead wasn’t aimed at sending a message to the roster, and that it was driven only by his situation.
“We looked at it, we looked at his full body of work and we made a decision to move on,” Jones said, per Hill. “We feel like we’ve given Lucky a lot of different chances along the way going back to last year and I think just decided it was time to go in a different direction.”
Still, the question of whether Whitehead actually was arrested for shoplifting, and then failed to show up in court, remains unresolved. Regardless of any flight records that seem to show Whitehead wasn’t even in Manassas, Virginia at the time of the arrest, police typically gather, you know, photos and fingerprints of people who are arrested. And so if it wasn’t Whitehead who was arrested, that should be fairly easy to prove.
While it doesn’t matter for the Cowboys, it’s going to matter for anyone who may be considering claiming him on waivers. Because if Whitehead was indeed arrested and failed to show up in court on the charges and is now trying to suggest some sort of reverse fall guy situation, it’s all the more reason to avoid him.