Earlier today, Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant turned himself in today to DeSoto, TX police and was arrested for a Class-A misdemeanor of family violence, for an alleged assault on a female family member. He was released on bail, but this somewhat minor incident could have even more dramatic undertones for the team.
First, let’s state the obvious. This will generate attention from Roger Goodell and the NFL as the arrest violates the personal conduct policy. It would be well within the NFL’s right to suspend Bryant for these actions. Being that the charge itself brings a penalty of up to a year in jail, the NFL may wait and see what happens before suspending him, if they even decide to suspend him at all. But just like the Vick arrest, he may require reinstatement if suspended.
Now, without trying to be too trite – because he is 23, and let’s face it, we all did stupid stuff at that age still – we need to realize the bigger picture here. The local media here in Dallas is trying to downplay this immensely. Just this evening on my way home from work, various radio personalities were saying that it may not have been an actual assault, and on the local TV affiliates, they were saying the NFL may not even step in to discipline Bryant. Regardless of what stance anyone takes, or what actually happened, there is a right for Cowboys fans to be alarmed.
I say this because this hasn’t been Dez’s first rodeo. In March 2011, he got a criminal trespass warning. He has also been sued over loans and jewelry and gotten into altercations at nightclubs. He also got thrown out of a mall for wearing his pants too low. None of these as of yet have led to an arrest. However, it is clear with the arrest that Bryant is escalating his off the field incidents. The offenses keep growing, and while he may still be an immature 23, he should know better. As the incidents keep happening, they will continue to escalate, until he does commit a more serious offense.
Because of this growing pattern of more mischevous behavior, there could come a point, if it hasn’t happened already, where the Cowboys will get tired of having him on the team and want to jettison him. It is well known that Garrett doesn’t want distractions. And rightfully so. This team is under enough pressure to perform and win that they need all the focus they can muster towards this season.
So let’s fast forward and think about the best case scenario. That would be that Dez Bryant stays a Cowboy and the NFL does not discipline him. From a personnel standpoint, that would be great for the Cowboys. Fromaproduction standpoint, he could go on and have a lucrative career. But now let’s think of the worst case scenario. Bryant could go away for as much a s a year, depending on the severity of the charge. That would most likely come with an automatic suspension and a need for reinstatement into the NFL. If the NFL tacks on a suspension before he even sees jail time, then the Cowboys could potentially be looking at up to 2 years without one of their primary receivers. This could be a death knell for a team already short on receiver talent. It would leave the team with only Austin and Witten, and searching for another player to take Dez’s place.
Granted, this is all still developing, but this situation could be ruinous for both Bryant and the Cowboys if he doesn’t grow up soon. It will be interesting to see how the team responds to this and to how, or even if, the NFL handles this. My message to Dez from a football perspective is straighten up, grow up, and get your act together as you are only hurting yourself, your team, and the fans. From a societal perspective, Dez, you need to grow up because you are not only hurting yourself, but your family and community with your actions.