Dez Bryant might be one of the most supremely gifted athletes in the NFL, but he’s no longer worth the trouble to the Dallas Cowboys.
Bryant will have his day in court after being arrested Monday on charges he assaulted his mom two days earlier, according to DeSoto police. The incident report said Bryant became angry when he was asked to leave his mother’s home Saturday afternoon and that he allegedly grabbed her by the shirt and hair and “hit her across the face with his ballcap.”
The Cowboys are aware of the incident, but have remained silent to this point. And even one of Bryant’s closest advisers, David Wells, told FOXSportsSouthwest.com Monday night he was trying to “put the puzzle together.” Wells did say that Bryant was “very remorseful” and hoped for a quick resolution to the incident.
The 911 call was released Tuesday, and it was disturbing to hear a woman identified as Bryant’s mother, Angela, indicate there was a pattern of this type of behavior from her son.
“I can’t keep letting him do this,” Angela Bryant said during the call, which was obtained by Dallas radio station KESN (103.3-FM). “I can’t keep letting him do me like this. I’m tired. I’m going to put an end to it today. I’m going to put an end to it today. I’m tired.”
Bryant has been charged with a Class A misdemeanor on charges of assaulting a female family member, which is punishable by a fine up to $4,000 and a year in jail. He’s had a string of issues since being selected in the first round of the 2010 draft, but this is the first time he’s been arrested.
The Cowboys were counting on him to take the next step in 2012 and become a more consistent playmaker. Now, you have to wonder whether Bryant will even be available at the beginning of the season.
And no matter what happens with Bryant in the legal system, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has a history of punishing players for violating the league’s conduct policy. There’s no reason to believe he’ll be lenient toward a player accused of domestic violence. It wouldn’t be a shock if Bryant was suspended for the start of the regular season.
Some have called for the Cowboys to suspend Bryant, but it’s likely owner Jerry Jones will let Goodell take the lead. And if Bryant becomes unavailable for any part of the season, then it’s fair to question Jones for allowing wide receiver Laurent Robinson to walk in free agency.
Robinson quickly earned the trust of quarterback Tony Romo and put up big numbers last season while both Miles Austin and Bryant struggled with consistency and injuries. Jacksonville may have gone a little overboard in paying Robinson a guaranteed $14 million, but at least the Jaguars have a player who doesn’t keep them awake at night.
Jones seems drawn to the wayward Bryant, in part because the owner witnessed Michael Irvin help lead the Cowboys to three Super Bowl titles. Jones has always been intoxicated with the idea of acquiring someone of Irvin’s ilk, which has led him to take chances on receivers with character concerns such as Antonio Bryant, Terrell Owens and Dez Bryant. The Cowboys have a close relationship with Bryant’s college coaches, and they believed the player simply had “life skills” issues.
Bryant earned the reputation for showing up late to meetings and not being the most dependable guy in the locker room. Jones believes his organization has the ability to help players with immaturity issues. What scares Jones more than anything is hearing that a player is dealing with substance abuse (see the demise of Quincy Carter).
Bryant has overcome huge obstacles relating to his childhood, but that doesn’t make him unique in professional sports. The NFL is full of players who have risen above all sorts of personal setbacks. Like many great athletes, Bryant has been enabled at every level. And it will continue as the Cowboys will likely rally behind him in the aftermath of this arrest.
They can say they’re worried about Bryant as a person, but we all know he would’ve been released in a heartbeat if he was a fringe player on the roster. Bryant’s the ultimate tease. Because of the jersey he wears and his flashes of brilliance, he’s treated like a superstar by fans and some members of the Cowboys organization. But most of that’s based on potential.
The only thing Bryant, 23, has going for him right now is that he’s young. He’ll get opportunity after opportunity based on his alleged high ceiling. And next year at this time, someone will probably write a column bragging about how Bryant has shown a lot more maturity by staying out of trouble for a few months. The one thing I can promise is it won’t come from me.
The Cowboys believed that Bryant’s off-field issues would be trumped by his production on Sundays. As of now, that line of thinking apparently has blown up in their faces.