Context is defined as follows:
con·text [kon -tekst]
1. the parts of a written or spoken statement that precede or follow a specific word or passage, usually influencing its meaning or effect: You have misinterpreted my remark because you took it out of context.
2. the set of circumstances or facts that surround a particular event, situation, etc.
This definition should be remembered by any and all readers of any story in the media. Things are constantly taken out of context by those in the media in order to sell their agenda.
Fox News (or what I call Faux News) is famous for it, and has built up a media giant by doing just that, taking the statements and actions of Democrats and Liberals out of context, in order to portray them as wrong, or even evil.
I won’t go further in regard to politics, but the same kind of misrepresentation goes on in sports all too often as well.
There are numerous sportswriters and sports media outlets who have no qualms whatsoever in taking something out of context in order to generate a titillating and exciting story they feel they can sell.
Such is the case of Michael Silver and Yahoo! Sports, who took a question asked by Miami Dolphins’ General Manager Jeff Ireland completely out of context, and created a media firestorm that pushed most everything else off the front pages of most sports websites for days.
If you’re not aware of the issue, it was basically reported by Silver that Jeff Ireland, prior to the draft, in interviews he held with Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant, asked Bryant if his mother was a prostitute.
Yes, that’s right, he asked Bryant if his mother was a prostitute, and the whole sports world has been aghast ever since, many calling for Ireland’s head.
In fact, there have been some articles and blogs that have used Silver’s story to run with their own racist agenda, basically calling the NFL and its management no better than slave-owning racist scum.
Numerous sports luminaries, including Mike Ditka, have weighed in, with many of them, including Ditka, stating Ireland should have gotten slapped or punched in the face for such a question.
And truthfully, when I first read the story, I felt they had a slight point, although I’m someone who believes no words ever warrant striking another person.
Ireland himself has publicly apologized for the question, and claims he’s called Dez Bryant and his family to personally apologize as well.
Yet, should he have apologized?
One writer here on B/R wrote an article lambasting those who have defended Ireland, saying they’re defending the indefensible. I tried to point out to him that very few had actually defended Ireland, and that most had come out in no uncertain terms and torn him to shreds in the press.
Ah…but for context. That funny little word that means so much.
For you see, the question was not asked in a vacuum. It’s not like Jeff Ireland just decided to ask Dez Bryant out of the blue, “Hey, Yo momma a ho?”
No, nothing could be further from the truth. In order to understand that, we need to get some context.
First, we need to understand a little about Dez Bryant, his mother and father, and his associates.
Dez Bryant was born November 4, 1988 in Lufkin Texas. Prior to being drafted in the first round by the Dallas Cowboys in this year’s NFL draft, he had played college ball at Oklahoma State University.
He’s definitely a rare talent, who at 6’ 2” and 224 lbs has the speed and hands to excel in football.
In fact, that’s precisely what he did at Oklahoma State as a freshman in 2007, finishing second on the team in receptions with 43 for 622 yards and six touchdowns. He even set an OSU record for a freshman that year when he had 155 yards in one game against Kansas.
He excelled even more in the postseason, grabbing nine receptions for 117 yards and two touchdowns in the 49-33 win his Cowboys had over the Indiana Hoosiers in the 2007 Insight Bowl.
The following year he had no sophomore jinx, either, finishing the year for OSU with 87 catches for 1,480 yards and 19 touchdowns (two of them punt returns for TDs). He was pretty much OSU’s superstar, being named the 2008 Wide Receiver Trophy Recipient by the College Football Performance Awards.
However, this is where his star begins to not shine so brightly. On October 7 of 2009 he was suspended for the rest of the 2009 season for violating an NCAA bylaw. He had failed to fully disclose his association with former NFL great Deion Sanders.
While it had cost him his junior year in college, it probably wouldn’t have been a huge deal if that was all there was to this story of Dez Bryant. For he was considered the best receiver out there among the 2009 crop of wideouts and a possible Heisman Trophy candidate prior to his suspension.
Everyone knew the NFL would soon come calling.
And they did come calling. During the combines Dez Bryant was interviewed by many teams, including the Miami Dolphins.
This is where it gets interesting. For you see, Dez Bryant’s parents are not your typical parents. Now, I’m not saying they have to be the Cleavers from Leave It To Beaver , but these parents were not just not model citizens, they were what you’d call the bottom of the barrel.
According to Dan LeBatard, the questions asked of Dez Bryant by Jeff Ireland reveal quite a bit about his parents, and the context of the question regarding his mother. The questions go like this.
Ireland: What does your dad do?
Bryant: Works for dad.
Ireland: She’s a prostitute?
Bryant: No, she helps him with other stuff.
Whoa! So, the question here shouldn’t be why did Ireland ask Bryant if his mother was a prostitute, it really should be, why the hell did he apologize? I’m sorry, but if you say otherwise, you’re just a fool.
Someone tells me their father’s a pimp, and says their mother works for their father, and the NATURAL question that comes to mind is, SHE A HO?
And while Dez Bryant answered no to the question (of course, he now denies the other questions were asked, but I’m not buying that BS), the question still remains, is she?
Angela Dianne Bryant’s past is anything but clean. According to the Dallas Morning News article you can read here (as well as Fox Sports here ), she’s been arrested and convicted of possessing and selling crack cocaine twice, the last time as recently as April of 2009.
She also was arrested and convicted twice in 2008 for falsifying her name to a police officer.
So, how did we get to where we are, then? How did Michael Silver miss all this before he wrote his story?
Well, the truth is, the people who surround Dez Bryant aren’t much better characters than his mother and father. His “Lifestyle Coach” and confidant, David Wells, runs a bail bonds company and has been rumored to launder drug money through his business.
This was the same David Wells who fed the story to Michael Silver.
Apparently Angela Bryant felt a bit miffed over the question being asked of her son.
She states to Fanhouse.com, “When they couldn’t find enough dirt on him, they went to that. It was almost like a scheme. They should never have put that kind of thing or question on him. Whatever reason they chose to do that, they are talking about my charges of 12 years ago and running with it. I’m not OK with it. But we are both going to be OK.”
No, ma’am, the scheme seems to be yours. You conveniently leave out the fact you were arrested and convicted just last year of possessing and selling crack cocaine. The fact you were arrested and convicted of the same charges 12 years ago only makes it worse. You’re obviously a despicable human being.
To me, Dez Bryant and his mother owe Jeff Ireland, and the sports world, a huge apology. Is Angela Bryant a prostitute? Who cares? What she is, is far far worse. You sell crack cocaine, and as far as I’m concerned a prostitute is Mother Theresa compared to you.
So, remember to check that context out before believing a story you read in the media.
As we’ve seen with this one, the context was everything. Dez Bryant is the son of his parents, and while there are times when the apple does fall far from the tree, for good or bad, in this case I’m not certain it has.
He shouldn’t be held to account for the actions of his parents, but the simple fact he allowed his family friend (David Wells) and his mother to turn this into a media frenzy trying to pull down Jeff Ireland, combined with his lies to the NCAA, have me convinced he’s just like them.
Good luck with this guy, Dallas…lol