Virginia police clear Dallas Cowboys receiver Whitehead
A shoplifting charge that prompted the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys to cut receiver Lucky Whitehead was a case of mistaken identity, police in Virginia said Tuesday.
“Upon reviewing the June 22, 2017 arrest of an individual named ‘Rodney Darnell Whitehead, Jr.’, the police department is confident that the man charged with petit larceny, and who is subsequently being sought on an active warrant for failure to appear in court, is not Lucky Whitehead of the Dallas Cowboys,” Prince William County Police Sergeant Jonathan Perok said in a statement.
The department said it regretted the impact its errors had caused Whitehead and his family. The Cowboys, who have seen a string of players arrested since the end of last season, wasted little time in saying Monday they would release Whitehead, a Virginia native, after reports that he was arrested for shoplifting on June 22 and had failed to appear for a scheduled court date earlier this month.
Whitehead insisted it was a case of mistaken identity, and his agent produced an airplane ticket that showed Whitehead was still in Dallas at the time of the alleged theft. The police said the man who was arrested wasn’t carrying identification, but gave his personal information verbally to officers.
Officers checked his information through the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles database and used the photo on file to compare to the man they had in custody. “... Officers acted in good faith that, at the time, the man in custody was the same man matching the information provided. At this point, the police department is also confident in confirming that Mr. Whitehead’s identity was falsely provided to police during the investigation,” the police statement said.
However, the Cowboys stuck with their decision to shed the 24-year-old, who spent the first two seasons of his NFL career with Dallas, playing primarily as a kick/punt returner. “We made a decision. We’re moving on,” team owner Jerry Jones said, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said the club determined that a “clean slate” for Whitehead was in the best interest of the team and the player. “He’ll have a new opportunity somewhere else,” Garrett said. “That’s good for him.” — AFP