NFL Player Wrongly ID'd as Shoplifter, Cut From Team

Lucky Whitehead says he was 'blindsided,' then cut from Dallas Cowboys
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 26, 2017 9:15 AM CDT
NFL Player Wrongly ID'd as Shoplifter, Cut From Team
In this Oct. 11, 2015, file photo, Dallas Cowboys' Lucky Whitehead (13) prepares before an NFL football game against the New England Patriots in Arlington, Texas.   (AP Photo/Brandon Wade, File)

"Lucky" Whitehead's first name hasn't proved prescient lately, though he doesn't bear any fault in the most recent matter. Whitehead (whose real first name is Rodney, per NBC News), who used to be a wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys, was cut from the team Monday during training camp after a case of mistaken identity in a Virginia shoplifting incident—and Prince William County cops there now admit they've discovered he had nothing to do with the crime. A man busted at the scene for stealing items at a Wawa convenience store on June 22 was questioned by police and verbally provided his name, date of birth, and Social Security number, as he didn't have ID on him—all of which matched Whitehead's. The suspect was released, but when he blew off a court hearing for the case, an arrest warrant was issued, with Lucky Whitehead's name on it.

After the news came out, Whitehead was released from his employer, with a team exec alluding to past incidents: "We just decided it was time to go in a different direction." At a Tuesday presser, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett was asked about the mix-up and release—Prince County Police now say they "regret the impact" of their error, though they add they acted in "good faith" based on their information—but Garrett simply repeated 10 times, in different variations, per ESPN: "We made a decision we felt was in the best interest of the Dallas Cowboys." Meanwhile, Whitehead tells the Dallas Morning News he was "blindsided." "Let's not sugarcoat anything. I was pretty much … called a liar," he adds, though he notes his teammates believed him. "He deserved better from law enforcement. We all do," Whitehead's agent tells NBC, demurring when asked if they would try to get his job back. (More Dallas Cowboys stories.)

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