NFL Star Should Not Be Treated Like a Baby

Dez Bryant (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Dez Bryant (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

(The Root) — I'm glad that troubled Dallas Cowboys star receiver Dez Bryant realizes the error of his ways. I'm glad that he wants to make some changes. And I'm glad that people are in place to help him.


But I don't like the notion of special rules that essentially relieve Bryant of all responsibility.

According to multiple published reports, the Cowboys have a set of guidelines in place to hold Bryant accountable. But if he has a rotating three-man security team with him at all times that drives him to and from practices, games and all team functions, that doesn't leave much room for personal accountability.

The guidelines might include a midnight curfew, twice-a-week counseling sessions, a ban on alcohol and a ban on attending strip clubs. An adviser, David Wells, said that Bryant asked for guidance, and the exact plan hasn't been finalized. But it could resemble the procedures put in place for Adam "Pacman" Jones, another former client.

"[Bryant] wanted to be a part of it," Wells said Tuesday on a Dallas radio station. "Then [Cowboys owner] Jerry Jones is in great support of this system and said, 'Let's get it done.' It came out that it's all about somebody forcing it, but [Bryant has] accepted responsibility himself to get past any negativity that's out there and try to move forward."

If Bryant thinks 24-hour baby-sitting will solve his problems, he might as well have a drink and go get a lap dance right now. Because until he's the one making decisions — and not his hired help — his demons and temptations will stay in place, waiting for the coast to be clear.

His string of off-field incidents have been relatively mild compared with Pacman Jones and the NFL's other notorious bad guys, although assaulting one's mother is way out-of-bounds. Bryant has been kept away from the media ever since July, and that's probably not a bad idea if it helps him stay focused.


But the Cowboys aren't doing him any favors by attempting to govern virtually every aspect of his life. Supporting him is one thing; carrying him is something else. Public perception of the latter is probably what made Jerry Jones shoot down the prospect of strict guidelines.

"I'm not so sure where the media has come up with detail of this nature," the owner said on Tuesday. "Fundamentally, Dez does — and I'm convinced — want to do many things that give him the opportunity to get on track the way he needs to, both on and off the field."


That's great. But the method could be problematic if it's too heavy-handed. Bryant supposedly is picking up the tab for his security detail. If the Cowboys insisted on that, it could be a violation of the collective bargaining agreement with the players union.

Here's hoping that Bryant straightens up and flies right. But he has to take control himself, not rely on autopilot.


Deron Snyder's Loose Ball column appears regularly on The Root. Follow him on Twitter and reach him at BlackDoor Ventures, Inc.