Inevitably, Dez Bryant's antics will be a hot topic throughout the week, because that sort of drama in the football capital of the world is impossible to ignore.
Obviously, it's never good for morale or optics when you have star players throwing tantrums and/or butting heads in public. Bryant had at least two volatile sideline confrontations Sunday as the Dallas Cowboys lost a heartbreaker to the Detroit Lions, the first with wide receivers coach Derek Dooley, head coach Jason Garrett and quarterback Tony Romo, and the second with tight end Jason Witten.
But I'm not worried about Bryant or the potential impact of his childish actions. The outbursts were unacceptable, but these things happen in a heated, emotional game. And it's not as though Bryant is the first diva wide receiver to have it out with teammates on the sideline. Randy Moss and Terrell Owens made a habit of it.
Hell, even the mature, mild-mannered Peyton Manning once had a hardcore sideline argument with center Jeff Saturday.
Bryant had a few bad moments on what was a rough day at the office. He did score after that confrontation with Dooley, Romo and Garrett, though, and he and Garrett celebrated together after that fourth-quarter touchdown.
A report from Mike Fisher of Dallas-area radio station 105.3 The Fan states that Garrett met privately with Bryant after the game, while owner Jerry Jones did the same with Witten. I'd imagine the situation has already been diffused, because Jones even defended Bryant's actions afterwards:
My colleague Aaron Nagler agrees that Bryant shouldn't be taking the brunt of the heat here:
And so it would be a shame if Bryant's sideline shenanigans overshadowed all or even some of the more pressing concerns that should exist after Dallas choked in Detroit.
On Sunday, the Cowboys blew a 10-point lead with less than four minutes to play, losing to a Lions team that committed four turnovers despite committing not a one of their own. They became only the 13th team this century to lose despite winning the turnover battle by a margin of four.
They allowed Calvin Johnson to become only the second receiver in NFL history to go over 320 yards receiving.
They gave up 24 points in the fourth quarter alone.
They became way too vanilla on offense while attempting to squat on that fourth-quarter lead, running Phillip Tanner and Joseph Randle five times for only three yards on their final two drives. And they couldn't even run the clock down before that final Detroit touchdown drive because of a silly holding penalty.
Same old Cowboys, failing to deliver in crucial spots. This was a pivotal game and a chance to strengthen their grip on the NFC East, but they did what they've become notorious for doing throughout this era.
This is a team that has gone 8-8 each of the last two years, is 4-4 this year despite a ton of talent and is now 132-132 since the start of the 1997 season. I'm beginning to doubt they'll be any better than 136-136 when 2013 concludes.
Dez Bryant might not be a perfect employee, but he's doing a lot less harm than good. Let's not make this about him.
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