What do you do with a troublesome player? For the Dallas Cowboys, this question must now be the first on their minds following reports that star receiver Dez Bryant was arrested Monday for allegedly assaulting his own mother.
It may be Bryant’s first stint with an actual charge, but his actions since entering the NFL in 2010 are alarming and should be as much of a concern as the disconcerting misbehavior of Bengals cornerback Adam “Pac-Man” Jones and the late Chris Henry was once upon a time.
Bryant’s transgressions have grown in extremity each time he has gotten into trouble. This most recent run-in with the law does not shine a positive light on the 23-year-old athlete or the team he plays for.
But what can the Cowboys do?
While contracts mean little these days in the NFL, Bryant is signed through 2014 and this is his first time actually being charged with a crime. He is talented, full of potential and, while his actions are surely frustrating, in desperate need of attention and help from the Cowboys organization and anyone else that can redirect him on the course he is currently headed down.
Bryant’s background is well-documented, born to a pimp for a father and a 14-year-old Angela Bryant who has had her fair share of run-ins with the law herself. Though his upbringing certainly should not excuse him from all of his wrongdoings, the Cowboys have to stick with their vexatious star through the turmoil and do all they can to rebuild his image and his character.
Many may argue that a player like Bryant does not deserve the money and glory of playing in the NFL, but life outside professional sports could be an even greater endangerment to his well-being.
Former Dallas Cowboy star and Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders was once a mentor for a young Dez Bryant during his time at Oklahoma State (which subsequently got him suspended for the remainder of the 2009 NCAA football season). Perhaps another attempt at some guidance from a peer who was once in similar shoes could do wonders for the former first-round pick.
Adam Jones led a career of scandal quite comparable to the one Bryant has begun to build in less than three seasons as an NFL player and though it took some time for Jones to get his act together, it appears the sixth-overall selection in the 2006 NFL draft has really shaped up. He spoke at this year’s Rookie Symposium and touched on just about every topic that has been an embarrassing hindrance to Bryant’s young professional career—money, violence and the late night club scene.
Jones is lucky to be playing in the NFL today, something he would undoubtedly admit to. If Bryant continues on this path, he will be lucky to say the same.
Bryant’s time in the NFL is dwindling quicker than he knows, and with every misdeed he moves a step closer to the countless men before him who have lost on their dream because they could not handle the bright lights and get their act together.
The legal repercussions for his actions will be minor with fines and a maximum jail sentence of one year that Bryant will almost definitely not see. Things may not seem too bad quite yet, but it never takes long to go from a simple domestic dispute to a disastrous, heartbreaking end.
The Cowboys mustn’t turn their back on Bryant. They must do all they can to get their gifted young receiver the help he needs, focusing on living a more positive life and steering clear of the cloud of trouble that has followed him for two years.
Before it’s too late.