If I'm the Dallas Cowboys, my only issue with what happened between Dez Bryant and some of his coaches and teammates on the sideline Sunday in Detroit is that the resultant media frenzy could cause Bryant to hold back from displaying such passion again.
The optics of Bryant's supposed outbursts weren't good, but it turned out this story was a media invention. All parties involved supported Bryant following the game, and now audio released at NFL.com indicates that at least the majority of the words coming out of Bryant's mouth were motivational, rather than critical.
So what looked liked this...
Was actually this...
Bryant: I’m cutting! I’m cutting clean. I know on that last one, they bust me, it’s over.
Bryant: Man, we good on that, Tony. We the best in the NFL on that. We the best in the NFL. Hey, I could, I’m telling you, if you look at it on film. Man, if you look at it on film, [inaudible] I swear to God out there [inaudible].
Wide receivers coach Derek Dooley: What you gotta do is set it down.
Tony Romo: If you set it down [inaudible].
Dooley: Set it down. In other words, don’t look at Tony, because the safety’s coming out of the top.
Bryant: Yeah, I've seen him.
Dooley: So when you run...
Romo: Look at me. I’m throwing the ball and you’re already over here.
Romo: You should be setting down on that.
Dooley: Run like this. Don’t look at Tony and then stop, and say “Tony.”
Romo: [Inaudible] as soon as you’re over the ball you should tell me right now.
Dooley: Just give it to me.
Romo: Stop or you’re gone.
Dooley: It looks open, but they’re coming out of the top.
Bryant: It did. It did. It did.
Dooley: I know what you saw because they doubled [Witten].
Bryant: I hadn't seen it.
This is a scenario in which Bryant was victimized by his own negative off-field reputation. Many of us assumed his intensity was being used in a volatile fashion, and it looks as though that was actually dead wrong.
Terrell Owens knows how that feels. I'm not suggesting that Owens didn't deserve to take heat for his sideline antics once in a while, but he was probably unfairly judged, too. In an interview with ESPN, he hit the nail on the head in defense of Bryant.
"You have guys in the booth like Brian Billick [saying], 'Oh, he needs to grow up,'" said Owens. "But...if Tom Brady does that they say, 'Oh, he's a great competitor.'"
I'm not surprised, though, because it's the NFL and it's the Dallas Cowboys and drama comes with the territory. Media types who were ready to sentence Bryant Sunday and Monday have to stop pretending as though they have some sort of omnipresent pulse on dressing rooms they don't even have access to. They don't know the inner workings of the Cowboys and they aren't aware of the relationship between Bryant, Romo and Jason Witten.
Before jumping on Bryant, we should have waited for the rest of the story. Now that we have most, if not all, of it, we've hopefully learned a lesson. Next time Bryant feels the need to take a passionate, emotional tone on the sideline, I hope he doesn't resist from doing so. He doesn't have to hold back, but the media does.
(GIF via BuzzFeed)