Are the Dallas Cowboys Putting Dez Bryant in a Lose-Lose Situation?

Brad Gagnon@Brad_Gagnon NFL National ColumnistDecember 12, 2012

September 18, 2011; San Francisco, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones talks with wide receiver Dez Bryant before the start of the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has made it clear that red-hot wide receiver Dez Bryant will be allowed to decide on his own whether he's going to finish the 2012 NFL season.

Bryant has a fractured left index finger which will eventually require surgery, but he could go under the knife right now in order to limit any potential long-term damage to said finger.

But is that a fair approach, or has Jones accidentally or deliberately put unnecessary pressure on the 24-year-old by making that detail public? 

And now it looks as though Bryant will delay surgery, according to reports from's Albert Breer and ESPN's Ed Werder.

I think that, within reason, it's perfectly acceptable for a team to let a player control his fate in situations like these. If Bryant wants stay active and attempt to contribute to a playoff push even though it could mean that the soon-to-be-surgically-repaired fractured finger becomes permanently less capable in the future, that should be his right. 

The potential problem arose when Jones decided to tell the football world that Bryant would be making the choice. Those fans won't know what exactly the doctors and specialists are telling Bryant behind closed doors, because doctors and specialists don't reveal such details on weekly radio appearances.

Hopefully Bryant didn't commit to play to avoid the heat. Had he opted for surgery, people may have concluded, based on what Jones said, that Bryant could have played and decided not to.

But if he underperforms as a result of the injury, Jones' comments will only give critics fuel. They'll conclude that Bryant has no excuse because the team gave him an out. And maybe they'll say he has no excuse because the team felt he was healthy enough to make his own decision.

Either way, he'll have no excuse. 

This won't apply if Bryant delivers the way he has in recent weeks. But if that doesn't happen and the Cowboys miss the playoffs for the third straight year, Bryant will be a sudden candidate for scapegoating. 

I'm not sure Jones is enough of a twisted conniver to intentionally make Bryant's conundrum worse than it already was. I simply believe he, again, said too much. And as a result, his team's best player is in a bad spot.