One of my favorite quotes is, “A man's reputation is what other people think of him; his character is what he really is.”
I have found it to be true time and time again in my own personal life and in watching public figures.
Dez Bryant's reputation and character are quickly becoming one and the same by his actions.
Bryant came into the NFL followed by his character. The reputation he had for doing things outside the rules was how he came in.
When Dallas decided to give him a chance, I was one of the few who supported the Cowboys, saying that everyone deserves a second chance. I believe that they do. Bryant had his second chance and possibly a third, but his character is still what it always was, and his choices are still incorrect.
Now, his reputation (what others think of him) and his character (what he really is) are fast becoming one and the same.
Bryant found himself without a mentor in Deion Sanders. Sanders has not specifically stated why he cut ties with Bryant other than he did not want Bryant to be an influence on the kids of his charity foundation in a negative way. Bryant believes that Sanders cut him off for his refusal to rep and wear Under Armour. Like all things of this kind, I doubt it is that simple or the whole story from either side.
Bryant now has two pending lawsuits totaling about $850,000 for jewelry purchases, personal loans and NFL and NBA tickets. He faces these lawsuits with an associate, David Wells, who apparently was a co-signer of some sort on some of these debts and loans, which stretch back to when Bryant was a sophomore at Oklahoma State, a whole other as yet to be opened can of worms.
Does character matter?
Bryant was paid last year $2.84 million in base salaries and bonuses. He also received an undetermined amount from Under Armour and other income from personal appearances.
If one were to play out events to their logical conclusion and believe that Bryant is spending money like this at more than just these two places, will we soon learn that he is broke? Especially given that during the lockout, he's not getting paid at all by the NFL.
The lawsuits will most likely be settled. The NCAA may investigate the money and items Bryant either bought or received during his time at Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are powerless to intervene during the lockout.
As for Bryant, just as for everyone, character will always rise to the surface.