Dez Bryant and the Portrayal of Different NFL Players in the Media

Dez Bryant is selfish. Dez Bryant is childish. Dez Bryant disrespected his franchise. Dez Bryant doesn’t care about his teammates. Dez Bryant isn’t committed to winning. Dez Bryant doesn’t understand his place. Dez Bryant doesn’t deserve to be where he is. Dez Bryant is unstable. Dez Bryant is a disgrace to the NFL. 

You won’t need to look far to find comments like those today. Dez Bryant’s actions on the sideline received more attention than his actions on the field yesterday in Detroit as his Dallas Cowboys lost to the hometown Lions. Bryant is being judged from all angles for what he did and the reasons he did it.

He’s being judged even though anyone judging doesn’t know enough of the details to judge him.

Bryant was demonstrative on the sideline. He showed passion and an intensity that can be interpreted in many ways. Some will immediately say that he was being disruptive to his team and should have understood that he can’t act like that. Others will say that there is no difference between what he does and what Peyton Manning infamously did with Jeff Saturday or what Tom Brady has done with regularity throughout his career.

For whatever reason, Bryant doesn’t get the same benefit of the doubt as Brady or Manning. Be it racial, positional or simply because of their respective reputations, the majority of people were very quick to paint Bryant in a negative light for actions that would cause them to paint others in a positive light.

Arguing passionately is part of sports. In fact, it’s a necessary part of a winning culture in sports. Undoubtedly there is negative arguing, but there is also positive arguing. If Bryant was complaining about the Cowboys not getting him the ball enough, then that’s not good. If Bryant was showing off the passion and aggression to show his teammates that he expects them to play better so they can win games, that’s a very good thing.

With Bryant, Manning, Brady and even someone like Jay Cutler, the majority of onlookers will use prejudice based on their reputations to judge situations where they don’t have all the facts. Yesterday, not a single person heard a word that Bryant spoke. Not a single person understood the issues that were being worked out. Only those on the sideline understand what was happening and only those on the sideline understand if it’s a good or a bad thing.

Much like with Jay Cutler back during that infamous playoff game or Peyton Manning’s volatile discussion with Jeff Saturday, that won’t prevent people from painting things in a certain light and projecting their own interpretations as facts.

The weakest case in court is one without any hard evidence. If you brought Dez Bryant to court and charged him with being a bad teammate based on the evidence available, then you better have a few more cells available for anyone that ever has an “outburst” on the sideline, because outside of reputation/how you feel about the player personally, there is no real evidence to support your decision.

You can’t taste food with your eyes. You can’t read a book by looking at the cover. You can’t understand someone’s level of intelligence by looking at their face. You can’t analyse a painting by feeling the frame its held in. Think about the big picture and don’t make what you believe to be ‘educated, accurate guesses’ when you are missing the majority of the important evidence.

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