DALLAS (CBSDFW) – If Dez Bryant goes to Applebee’s (one of his favorite restaurants) for dinner one night, stays past midnight (he’s a night owl, check his Twitter) and orders a flavored CIROC Vodka (on the rare occasions he imbibes, his drink of choice), Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will be:
A) Immediately alerted.
B) So immensely pissed that he disciplines, and perhaps even cuts the player on the spot.
C) Wholly unaware and, therefore, unbothered.
If you guessed A and/or B, you haven’t been paying attention. If you correctly guessed C, gold star by your name for listening to 105.3 The Fan – no, not “KRLD-AM” like some local columnist wrote today – when the owner was asked Tuesday about the supposed new “Dez Rules.”
Jerry, did the “Dez Rules” come from you?
“No … I’m not going to discuss any of the rules, because that implies that there are a certain set of rules. I don’t know that that’s correct, either. … I’m not so sure there’s been any new rules created here.”
Hear that? The “rules” released to the media by Bryant’s adviser, David Wells, earlier this week weren’t conceived or authored by Jones or the Cowboys. In fact, Jones is denying there are even any new rules in place at all.
And why would there be?
Jones has at his disposal three former FBI agents. He employs Calvin Hill as the team’s Player Development consultant. The Cowboys were already watching over Bryant – literally – as he dined at BJ’s Brewhouse during training camp in Oxnard. Perhaps Dez’s guidelines were tweaked and tightened in the wake of his July 14 arrest in Desoto for domestic violence. But there aren’t any new Dez Rules.
And if there were, why in the hell would they include:
*No drinking alcohol – Dez is not a drinker, and certainly has never been linked to any episode or habit including the abuse of alcohol.
*No strip clubs – Dez isn’t a strip-club guy. He prefers Applebee’s, or Buffalo Wild Wings and he’s much more likely to spend the wee hours of the morning on his couch playing Madden ’13 than folding $1s at The Men’s Club.
*Dez will be followed full-time by a three-man security team, selected by Wells – Again, considering his resources, why would Jones, if he had any say in the rules, allow anyone but his people to shadow his receiver?
Truth is, the supposed “Dez Rules” are a big sham. An attempt to put on a big show for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and the district attorney still investigating the case and considering charges against Bryant for allegedly assault his mother. And, you know what, I have no problem with that. If it helps keep Dez out of jail and on the field, I’m all for it.
But let’s be clear: Dez’s camp – Wells, Royce West, etc. – diagrammed the rules, not the Cowboys. Now, when presented with the guidelines I’m certain Jerry said “Yep, looks good to me.” What’s the alternative? “Naw, I prefer Dez order a round of shots at 1:58 a.m. shots at Baby Dolls”? Of course not.
But if you believe Jerry wrote the supposed “Dez Rules” or will strictly hold Dez to them, you’re sadly mistaken.
Dez can stay out past midnight. Dez can drink alcohol. Dez can go to a restaurant/club. Without the Cowboys’ permission. And, yes, without Jerry’s knowledge.
Because the Dez Rules hold zero weight.
You’ve watched the ESPN Machine roll out this story as definitive, breaking news that will change how Dez Bryant lives his life. You’ve heard it portrayed as “Jerry’s rules for Dez” and read where Jones has “danced around” and been “wishy-washy” on the story because he refused to confirm it in the way some in the media demanded.
I’m told by a source close to Bryant that he isn’t happy about any of this. And why would he be? Now you’ve got Cowboys fans – and Dez critics – with the seed planted in them that Bryant may in fact have a problem with alcohol and a VIP membership at numerous strip clubs. Neither of which is true. While he was at it, why didn’t Wells go ahead and include the prohibiting of Dez from taking mid-November backpacking excursions to the South Pole? He doesn’t do that either but, boy, what if he did?!
I’ve always liked Dez. He’s a good person, if not immature and at times too passionate for his own good. And he’s making smalls steps in the right direction. His willingness, even pro-actively, to accept the counsel of former Cowboys’ tight end Jay Novacek can’t be received as anything other than positive news for Cowboys fans.
Jones does have in place rules of acceptable behavior for Bryant. And the rest of his players. It’s called society. It’s called common sense. It’s called the law. It’s called the NFL. Wells’ “Dez Rules” may glom on to and support the existing rules, but they in no way supplant or supercede what’s been in place since the middle of July.
The Rangers’ Josh Hamilton has his rules, like no more than $20 cash in his wallet and being driving to and from games by an accountability partner. And Dez Bryant has his rules, they’re just not as tough, or as new, as you have been led to believe.
Wells had a long conversation with The Fan’s Cowboys Insider Mike Fisher Tuesday at the Kickoff Luncheon in Arlington. He said he’d heard our station’s take on the origin and implementation of the “Dez Rules”, and agreed with it.
So next time you see Dez at Applebee’s at 12:07 a.m. ordering a peach CIROQ, don’t freak out. He’s totally playing within the rules.
The real rules.
(© Copyright 2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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