Cowboys Dez: The 'What Ifs' Of Video Trouble
The situation begs for me to be careful on the Dez Bryant "incriminating video’’ story and it begs for me to be clear on it:
Until I see it, I do not know that it exists. But I do know legitimate media outlets are digging. And I do know, one way or another, it's a Dallas Cowboys problem.
I have already detailed the lack of logic regarding some of the branches on this Dez Video tree. But if there is any truth to the colorful claims that this years-old video paints a picture of Bryant that is “five times worse than Ray Rice,’’ there will be trepidation not only regarding his “Cowboy For Life’’ contract negotiations, but concerns for his availability to the Cowboys in 2015 and concerns for what law-enforcement officials might wish to do about it.
I have on many occasions referred to this as a “Unicorn Video,’’ not because it necessarily doesn’t exist, but simply because it a) seems surreal and b) is unseen by me.
But you want to see an advanced stage of “surreal"? Know the original Cowboys plan: If a long-term deal wasn't done by March 2, the franchise tag was to be used on the All-Pro receiver as a way to keep him from free agency.
Suppose, just for argument’s sake, that the “Unicorn’’ is located. Now what do you do with the notion of a seven-year, $100-million commitment? Now what do you with the $12.8-million commitment that goes with the tag?
“Right now, as to our basic approach to all of the contracts that we’re considering negotiating, off-the-field issues are not a consideration in any situation with any player,’’ Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said the other day.
And if the “unsubstantiated rumor’’ only appears on “SportsCenter’’? Jones can be right.
But if the “Unicorn Video’’ ever appears on “SportsCenter’’? Jones will be wrong.
Bryant has voiced his displeasure at the concept of the tag — even though it can be the first step to a "Cowboys-For-Life'' deal that then must be done by July 15 (or the tag sticks). But, again, imagining the worst, forget Dez’ unhappiness; Bryant could suddenly be the target of displeasure, ire and investigations.
What if the lack of logic is overcome by a seedy fact? What if legitimate outlets’ searches for the video produce something illicit? Does Dallas give Bryant a seven-year deal? A one-year deal? No deal at all, because depending on the level of illicitness, he might face a penalty from the NFL like the penalty given Rice and Adrian Peterson before him?
And what if law enforcement wants in on this? Cowboys Nation shudders at the thought … but if the Unicorn Video exists, it would be the scene played out before our eyes that will cause us to shudder.
(Really, law enforcement probably should be racing the media to get the evidence of a crime — or to establish there is no crime at all.)
Here’s hoping the greatest of the Cowboys’ headaches here is dealing with the March 2 tag date and the March 10 cap-compliant date and the July 15 long-term-deal date.
"I'm not ashamed of none of my past incidents, because that's what made me who I am today,'' Dez recently tweeted, and that will be great if that is a statement meant to promise innocence.
But here’s worrying that it won’t be quite so clean … that there might be an “incriminating tape’’ … that what’s shown on the "Unicorn Video'' is dastardly … that there will, and should, necessarily, be punishment to fit the alleged crime.
That’s me being careful and that’s me being clear: My having not seen a Dez Bryant "incriminating video’’ doesn’t serve as evidence of its nonexistence. But I believe the digging (unfair as it is to any innocent man) will soon result in the sort of evidence that said innocent man would eventually applaud and a guilty man will restlessly dread.
* Our Cowboys-centric "Monday Mock Draft'' is here.
* How close were Dez and the Cowboys on an October deal? The scoop.
*Cowboys draftnik? Please read "The Cowboys' Six Tells and Tendencies in the Draft.'' ...
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