The headline on ESPN this morning reads “Dez not sorry, respects, loves Romo, Witten.” What the headline should read is “Media and fans sorry to Dez for bashing him for encouraging his team.” or just go with my headline for this blog. You get my point. Dez Bryant was filmed on the sideline adamantly encouraging his teammates including WR coach Derek Dooley and Tony Romo. I saw it live and somehow I could tell that he was not being negative. I just did not get that vibe. But, I also realized that as far as the media was concerned, they were going to take this and run with it. That’s exactly what they did, describing the situation and Dez using the words “tantrum” “rant” “unhappy with Romo” “selfish” “diva”. Well, today the NFL released the audio transcript of what Dez said and here it is.
“Man, we good on that, Tony. We the best in the NFL on that. We the best in the NFL. And I could…I’m telling you, if you look at it on film…man, if you look at it on film, [unclear] I swear to God out there, [unclear, PA announcer speaking] on the zero, I’m cutting. [Unclear] [expletive] [unclear.]”
The rest of it was in similar style but dissecting some plays that they had run or were going to run. The media and others did what happens way too often in our society and that is mischaracterize a black man as angry and selfish(even dangerous). It’s fascinating because I live in Gainesville, Fl and watched Tim Tebow implore his teammates at the University of Florida in the same fashion and he was lauded as a great leader. Last year, Aaron Rodgers yelled at his WR James Jones and some praised him as being a leader. Rodgers and Head Coach Mike McCarthy had a heated discussion on the sidelines this year and the narrative that emerges from the media is that these things happen in the heat of the battle. Greg Jennings, former Packers WR, came out and discussed what he thought was a selfish attitude of Aaron Rodgers when he played with him. The narrative that emerges from the media on that story is that Jennings has sour grapes and should apologize to Aaron Rodgers. Ridiculous. This Dez Bryant story is another example in a long line of example of black athletes(and all people of color, really) being held to a higher standard. In most cases, like this one with Dez Bryant, the media(and others) are just flat-out wrong and mischaracterizing. I would like everyone who wrote a story about Dez and his “tantrum” to write a follow-up apologizing to him. My hope is that we will all examine our reactions to people of color and recognize our prejudice. I hope we will see how this attitude and behavior inhibits our connection with others instead of strengthens it.