Dez Bryant: I was forced to pay $55K dinner tab as rookie
JUN 01, 2014 11:56a ET
With bullying and rookie hazing an increasingly hot-button issue in the NFL after last season's Jonathan Martin-Richie Incognito incident, Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant says he, too, was forced to take part in hazing his rookie season in Dallas.
Speaking during a recent taping of FOX Sports 1's "Back of the Shop," Bryant said he was forced to cover a dinner tab for several teammates at Pappas Bros. Steakhouse. The total came to $55,000. But unlike the Dolphins scandal from last season, this incident remained in-house, though it certainly stuck with Bryant.
"The way I look at that is some guys do it just to be [expletive]," Bryant said during the taping. "I paid $55,000 for a dinner, and it struck me the wrong way. I could've easily went off on every last one of them, but I didn't. I kept myself together, and I wanted to change that. So you know what I did, went out there and did my thing. Now they're allowing me to call the shots."
Bryant, a first-round pick in 2010, signed a five-year, $11.8 million rookie deal with $8.6 million guaranteed.
Late in October of last season, the Dolphins made headlines that reached far beyond the sports world when Martin, an offensive lineman, abruptly left the team after an incident in the lunch room at the team facility. As time passed and details emerged, Martin alleged he was the victim of bullying by teammates, most notably Incognito, a fellow offensive lineman. Ultimately, an NFL-appointed investigator found that Martin was subject to a pattern of harassment by several Dolphins. In the fallout of the report, the Dolphins fired a coach and trainer.
Bryant joined New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, Seattle Mariners teammates Robinson Cano and Felix Hernandez and hip-hop legend Snoop Dogg for the sports talk show that is scheduled to air Tuesday at 7:30 pm CT.