Just when the preseason entered the stages of drudgery and boredom, leave it to Dallas Cowboys wide receiver, Dez Bryant to stir up controversy again. After being hit square in the face during a fight that erupted between the Cowboys and the St. Louis Rams, who were practicing against Dallas in California, Bryant has once again provided extra drama to get fans through the preseason.
This is the second physical altercation featuring Dez Bryant after he got into a fight with corner back Tyler Patmon during the first week of camp. However, the fact that Bryant was not even participating in the practice versus the Rams yet still ran into the middle of the fracas has drawn significant criticism.
As you can see in the video below, Bryant takes a hard shot to the face while being restrained by Cowboys tackleTyron Smith
. Notice how dangerous the punch could have been had it landed with more force.
This marks the third time in the last two training camps that Bryant has been in a fight. Last season he fought with starting safetyJ.J. Wilcox
during a team scrimmage.
What is the organization’s response? They are hiding behind the notion that Bryant’s fights are a result of his passion for the game.
"“I don’t know what you categorize it as but you certainly love his passion and love how much he loves his team and his teammates,” executive vice president Stephen Jones said ESPN.com."
Jones went on to say that he does not condone fighting and does not want to see his players fighting under any circumstances. Notice how the Cowboys are defending Bryant’s actions first, then trying to cover their tracks by giving the politically correct statement.
David Moore of the Dallas Morning News wrote an article condemning Bryant’s irresponsible behavior.
"“Passion doesn’t give a person the right to act or lash out whenever he or she wants. An impulsive display of passion often results in reckless or irresponsible behavior.” Moore wrote."
When Bryant heard of (or maybe read, but I doubt it) Moore’s article, he gave his rebuttal in the most mature way possible. He took to twitter to call Moore a “sucky writer.”
While many fans are attacking and vilifying Moore for criticizing the Cowboys best player, the truth is that Moore makes a fantastic point. Just because a player has passion does not give him permission to act irresponsibly.
"“When passion is constantly extolled as a virtue, when it’s lauded as someone’s defining trait, that person will feel all actions are justified because, well, they just care more than anyone else.” Moore said."
"“This notion needs to be rejected. Is Bryant any more passionate about his craft than Tyron Smith, Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Barry Church or countless other players on this roster?”"
Though the public loves to see fights, the rational fan would realize that nothing good comes from a training camp fight. Ironically, when Bryant tried to stand up for his teammates, Bryant put the overall well being of his team on the line.
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Did Bryant not hear about what happened to New York Jets’ starting quarterback Geno Smith who is out for a significant portion of the regular season after breaking his jaw in a locker room fight? Imagine what would have happened to the Cowboys if Bryant had suffered a broken bone in his face causing him to miss half of the regular season.
Who would replace the $70 million wide receiver in the Dallas offense? Is Devin Street going to strike fear in the hearts of Cowboys opponents?
Had Bryant been hurt in either fight during this training camp, the Dallas season would be a wash. Without Bryant, there would be no fear of the Cowboys’ passing game allowing defensive coordinators to put an extra man near the line of scrimmage to stop Cowboys dominant ground attack.
Unconfirmed reports surfaced all summer that the Cowboys were hesitant to give Bryant a contract extension due to his immaturity. However, the organization eventually caved and put the future of the franchise on the shoulders of Bryant.
Number 88 got what he wanted, big money and a new contract. But with such a contract comes the added responsibility of doing what is best for the team, not for himself.
Thought he thought he was doing right by his teammates, Bryant actually put his own desires ahead of his team. The Cowboys are lucky that Bryant has not fought in a regular season game but can they be assured he won’t?
His so-called passion led him to leave the sidelines to berate an official during the fourth quarter of the Cowboys playoff game against the Detroit Lions last season. Why a flag was not thrown on Bryant is hard to fathom but in that instance Bryant’s inability to think before he acts should have cost the Cowboys a playoff game.
Bryant’s passion makes him the best receiver in the NFL but it also makes him a risk. Passion is not in the same category as recklessness.
Bryant must learn the difference between passion and stupidity. If he does not, it is only a matter of time until his passion costs the Cowboys in a major way.