“I’m not going to talk about Lucky,” Jones told reporters at the team’s Oxnard, Calif., training camp. “I’m going to talk about players. I’ve never talked to a player that I didn’t have empathy [for]. If you all [media] have done one thing in my time to criticize me, it is how I will back up a player to a fault. You’ve done it. You’ve done it for years. I will back ’em up to a fault.’ ”
Jones, who has backed star running back Ezekiel Elliott throughout an NFL investigation into an alleged domestic incident involving a former girlfriend, was just getting started.
“So when we do make a decision around here that’s in the best interest of the team to move on, there’s one thing you can forget about and that is whether you’re being fair or whether you’ve given it consideration of what it means to the individual,” Jones said. “That doesn’t happen around here. Thank you, guys.”
Whitehead ripped the Cowboys for not having his back and believing him when he said he wasn’t in Virginia, where the incident occurred, on June 22.
“Let’s not sugarcoat anything,” he told the Dallas Morning News on Tuesday. “I was pretty much being called a liar. As far as the whole situation went down, I was blindsided. I didn’t know about a warrant that came about in the first place clearly because I wasn’t the person arrested. The head person [in the Cowboys organization] I told, no one backed me up. No one had my back in the whole situation. I knew about it at what? 12:45 [PDT]. By 2:30, I’m released.”
Whitehead went on.
“As far as the stuff that was preached [by the Cowboys], I was left out to dry,” Whitehead said. “You see the mantras that are all around ‘The Star.’ I mean, by 12:45 I figured out that this is even going on. By 2:30 I was released. What’s the real reason? Let me clear my name. I didn’t have time to do that.
“I was pretty much called a liar.”
Police in Virginia’s Prince William County said they regretted the mistake that led to Whitehead being charged with petit larceny in the theft of $40 worth of merchandise from a convenience store June 22 and the subsequent arrest warrant that was filed when he failed to show for a July court date.
Jonathan Perok, a police spokesman, said the suspect had no identification when he was initially stopped by authorities and he gave officers a name, date of birth and Social Security number that matched those of Rodney Darnell Whitehead Jr. That information was compared to what the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles has on file for Whitehead and police also compared Whitehead’s photo with the suspect in custody. “Officers acted in good faith that, at the time, the man in custody was the same man matching the information provided,” the department said in a statement.
But it wasn’t true and the police said in a statement that, “At this point, the police department is also confident in confirming that Mr. Whitehead’s identity was falsely provided to police during the investigation.”
That leaves Whitehead seeking employment, though.
“We are thrilled that Lucky was vindicated, his good name restored and the charges dropped and warrant rescinded,” Whitehead’s agent, David E. Rich, wrote Tuesday in an email to The Washington Post. “Rich Sports never doubted his story for a second. He’s family and we were gonna have his back no matter what. I’m very disappointed in how this entire thing was handled from the first story to the authorities in D.C. to the employer. Lucky deserved better. Don’t we all when are surprised an accusation out of left field? And those teammates in Dallas lost a good one … for no reason. There’s gonna be some lucky team in a day or so that gets themselves one hell of a player.”
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