Roy Williams vs Dez Bryant: A Case for Each on the Pads Incident

Micah ChenAnalyst IIIJuly 30, 2010

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 03:  Wide receiver Roy Williams #11 of the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on January 3, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Simply search the word "pads" and one of the first things that will pop up is whether Dez Bryant should or shouldn't have carried Roy Williams. The story has spread like a wild fire, and a couple days in, it is still causing plenty of debate around the net.  

I think of it like this, you're either team "Williams," or team "Bryant." You can't be on both; you have to choose. Both sides give good reasons why Bryant should or shouldn't have carried the pads. 

The Case for Roy Williams:

Bottom line is that he's a veteran.  He's been in this league for six years so he's been around the block a few times.  He knows how the league works, and therefore he has a right to expect respect from rookies. 

Carrying pads is a timeless ritual that every rookie must go for.  As he said, and I quote, "I carried pads, I paid for dinner, I paid for lunch."  He went through it, and while it may not be fun, every rookie has to do it.  Otherwise he's in for a tough time.

Veterans have been known to do a lot of dirty stuff in the locker room to rookies who don't cooperate.  Money has been stolen, rookies have been tied to goalposts.  The veterans will cook something up for you if you don't show them respect. 

It doesn't matter if you were drafted in the first, second, or seventh round, every rookie does it, not just some.  Aaron Curry (fourth overall pick in 2009 NFL draft, Seahawks) would be carrying four or five sets of pads and wouldn't complain.  He was happy about it, it's all part of the experience of being a rookie.

Ultimately, just carry the pads, it's not that hard.  And it's better to suffer (if that) for a month then have bad chemistry with your team for a whole career.  Being different doesn't make you cool.

The Case for Dez Bryant:

The man is paid to play football, bottom line.  Unless there's some really tiny print that says, "by signing this you agree to carry pads."  No, he doesn't have to do it. If he doesn't want to do it, he has that right.

Besides, why should he carry Roy Williams pads?  It's not like Roy Williams has done anything significant in Dallas to earn that right.  Why should he cooperate with the man he's competing to get the starting job with?

He's paid his dues.  People have criticized his off-field issues and his character.  But he's turned that around—he signed a contract early so he could start practicing as soon as possible.  That shows good work ethic.  He's just minding his own business, working hard and trying to earn his job as a starter. 

Then all of a sudden Roy Williams tosses some pads in his face and says, "Here, carry these, I'm lazy."  No! You may not even start! Why should I carry your pads?  As far as I'm concerned all you veterans can carry your own pads!

As he said, I'm here to play football, I'm here to win a championship.  That's it, I have a right to do choose to do something outside my contract.  Until somebody points out that in my contract I have to carry pads, then I'll be more than happy to do it.  But until then no.

Bottom line

Who cares?  The media has blown this way out of proportion.  I mean, c'mon, don't they have something better to cover?  Maybe we should be discussing who is going to get the starting job. 

Dez Bryant isn't the first person to make this kind of statement.  So why should we care now?  He's a first-round pick with a bad background.  So what?  The media should stop giving these players a bad time.  

What if Tim Tebow refused to carry Kyle Orton's pads? The media wouldn't care.  As far as they are concerned, Tim Tebow is the golden boy, and Dez Bryant is the cocky, flashy, rookie who craves the spotlight.

Maybe I should start forcing the new kid on my JV football team to carry MY pads after practice.  Now we're gettin' somewhere...