At first glance, it seems the so called Dez Bryant rules are a gracious gesture from Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. After a string of Bryant offenses including alleged domestic battery against his own mother, Jones and the Cowboys organization have come up with the following rules for Bryant, in which he’s agreed to:
According to ESPNDallas.com, Bryant agreed to a strict set of personal conduct guidelines late last week. Those rules include but are not limited to: • A midnight curfew. • No drinking alcohol. • No visiting strip clubs. Other nightclub visits must be pre-approved by the team and he must bring a security team with him. • Bi-weekly counseling. • A constant personal security presence.
All morning, sports radio and television have been buzzing about how great the Cowboys are to extend such a hand to help a troubled young man realize his NFL dreams. The same players, former players, analysts and commentators who regularly criticize NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for having too much power, are praising a team and an owner who’s hand now reaches into the private choices and freedoms of a 23 year-old professional.
The NFL is not college football. It’s a professional league, organization for grown men, men who are willing to take responsibilities for their actions and make better choices. Before we all throw Jerry Jones’ name in the ballot for Noble Peace Prize nominee, let’s face the truth. If Dez Bryant was a scrub, he would have been long gone. Tossed out, released from the team as hundreds of players were this past week.
As much as we’d like to close our eyes to the obvious fact, it can’t be ignored or glossed, Jones made a business decision. He’s attempting to protect his investment more than he is looking to save Bryant. In no way I’m I suggesting Jones does not care about Bryant. As a mom of three sons, I too feel Bryant’s pain and hopes he can make a commitment to changing his life. His upbringing with a mother in and out of jail for dealing drugs have long been documented, and I can’t imagine what life must have been like for him. However, Jerry Jones is a businessman. These Dez Bryant Rules are a business decision and proclamation.
Jones and the Dallas Cowboys need a winning season, and as a 20-plus year Cowboys supporter living in Philadelphia Eagles country, I need them to have a winning season too. But they can’t even attempt to have one without a formidable and talented receiver like Bryant. Miles Austin’s hamstring has more problems than Mitt Romney’s invisible tax returns. Without Bryant, who’s Tony Romo throwing the ball to? Without Bryant’s A game, the Cowboys are just another average NFL team missing the playoffs yet again. So Jones is hoping that by playing “dad” and setting up rules most parents have for their troublesome post puberty teenage boys, Bryant will curtail his bad behavior and lead the Cowboys to a profitable season.
If the Dez Bryant Rules were imposed by Commissioner Goodell, whose motives I believe are more noble than Jones, the NFL Players Association would be filing lawsuits. They have a problem with the Commissioner protecting the league and players as a whole, but no one has a problem with Jerry Jones infringing on a grown man’s private life in order to protect his own business.