Cowboys Do Not Have 'Bryant Passion' Problem

There are many types of leaders, and many ways to approach conflict. If Dez Bryant's way doesn't fit a narrow description, maybe the description is what needs to change.

This is confusing.

There’s a huge fight and there’s a famous person involved. The coverage will come without question. This type of coverage, though?

It’s to be expected on a national level, sure. People with intimate knowledge of the Cowboys know national reporters will often be drawn to pacifying the lowest-common-denominator fan with which (often false) narrative can be applied whenever anything ‘Dallas Cowboys’ happens. Not quite sure which parts of the metaphor get assigned to whom, but moths, flames, burning… all of that.

Perhaps one sees the team as the flame, the exploits of famous players such as Tony Romo and Dez Bryant drawing the winged-media to them. Maybe the media are the flame drawing in the LCD fans to be flambéed. Possible that the team is the flame, the fans are the moths and the media is fanning the fires as to attract more and more to the spectacle (and charging by the click). Regardless, the metaphor is there in some capacity.

So when national media tries to paint Dez Bryant’s involvement in this week’s practice brawls with the St. Louis Rams as a major catalyst to the action, you shrug it off as them reaching out to the LCD. When local media, who were either actually there or had brothers-in-journalism on location, try and paint that picture, disingenuous might be the nicest description available. Many worse words would seem more accurate.

Full disclosure; I am not in Oxnard, I did not witness the fights first-hand. I’ve never met Dez Bryant, never interviewed him or spoken to him. He, along with the guy that throws him the ball, are at the top of my list of current Cowboys I admire for both their on-the-field play and off-field journeys. With all that, I still feel more than capable of finding fault in either of these two men. Yet, I can’t see how anyone realistically finds fault in the action of either man for his actions on Tuesday.

From reports, there were three separate incidents of brawling on Tuesday (read Fish's take, direct from the Oxnard practice fields, here). Practicing on separate fields, the Cowboys offense continued to practice as their defense got into the first scrum with the Rams offense. The Rams defense all left the adjacent field to go participate, leaving the Cowboys offense practicing (and scoring a TD) against air.

Simple math tells us that would put the Rams brawlers at a distinct numbers advantage.

In the subsequent melees, Dez Bryant decided that protecting his teammates, his family, was more important than his personal safety. It’s a decision rational men have made millions of times the world over in much more dangerous circumstances.

Brawls can be dangerous, but let’s be real here. Injuries from fighting are the extent of danger in football brawls. This is elevated because of the nature of the profession, but it’s not as if a football brawl is going to escalate to someone getting shanked at the bottom of a pile, or someone leaving the club to wait outside for their opponent with a firearm. This isn’t that.

No one should go looking for them, but from where a lot of folks stand, allowing the people you love to be outnumbered in a situation where they could be injured is something unacceptable to stand for. Dez Bryant comes from that place.

There should be no shame in Tony Romo, Jason Witten and others for staying out of the melee while many of their brothers were knee deep. And there should be no shame in Dez Bryant deciding to enter the ruckus.

Both actions (or action and inaction) are completely justifiable responses to the situation. What isn’t justifiable is turning Bryant’s response into a conversation about whether or not his level of passion is a bad thing for the Cowboys. It’s as legitimate a stance as faulting Romo and Witten for not caring enough about their teammates safety to join the fray. It’s asinine.

Not every media member is well-versed in the application of the Alpha Male role. There are many different types of leaders on a football team and in essence, it’s a collection of men who have been the Alpha Male in their previous “dens”. On this team, Dez Bryant is the Alpha Male’s Alpha Male. It is as important a role as there is on a football team. He is the one that doesn’t allow his teammates to be trash-talked into submission. He is the one that refuses to let their wills be broken. He is the one that lets them know even the multi-millionaire star has their back when they are being constantly cheap-shotted and the opponent is trying to intimidate them. Painting Bryant, or any athlete, as a one-dimensional product of their exuberance is faulty. The guy on the brink of losing control, because really that's what's being implied, is also living this life:

Despite their 12-4 season, the Cowboys are not yet winners. The team doesn’t have a culture of confidence stemming from years and years of playoff experiences. If so, maybe Dez Bryant’s passion would be looked at similarly to Tom Brady’s. Maybe other things would need to be different as well. In the meantime, as they try to become that consistent winner, their will and might will be tested at all intersections.

Dez Bryant ‘s refusal to let anyone get the upper hand on his teammates is paramount to passing these tests. Practice fights amongst teammates happen in 32 training camps a year. All-out brawls between teams practicing against each other happen every year. To extract from Dez Bryant’s involvement in the latter, when there were literally 100 or more participants, a sign of a deeper problem in his uncontrolled rage makes little sense.

The idea that Dez Bryant’s passion is a detriment to his football team defies the logic and history of the entire National Football League itself. If Bryant’s passion is so out of bounds, where has it manifested itself as an issue in the Cowboys play, or his availability, in the first five years of his career? The sentiment of “it’s just a matter of time” is tired and overdone. Let it go.




CowboysHQ Top Stories

\r\n\r\nDespite their 12-4 season, the Cowboys are not yet winners. The team doesn’t have a culture of confidence stemming from years and years of playoff experiences. If so, maybe Dez Bryant’s passion would be looked at similarly to Tom Brady’s. Maybe other things would need to be different as well. In the meantime, as they try to become that consistent winner, their will and might will be tested at all intersections.

\r\n\r\nDez Bryant ‘s refusal to let anyone get the upper hand on his teammates is paramount to passing these tests. Practice fights amongst teammates happen in 32 training camps a year. All-out brawls between teams practicing against each other happen every year. To extract from Dez Bryant’s involvement in the latter, when there were literally 100 or more participants, a sign of a deeper problem in his uncontrolled rage makes little sense.

\r\n\r\nThe idea that Dez Bryant’s passion is a detriment to his football team defies the logic and history of the entire National Football League itself. If Bryant’s passion is so out of bounds, where has it manifested itself as an issue in the Cowboys play, or his availability, in the first five years of his career? The sentiment of “it’s just a matter of time” is tired and overdone. Let it go.

\r\n
\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n
","mobileBody":"

This is confusing.

There’s a huge fight and there’s a famous person involved. The coverage will come without question. This type of coverage, though?

It’s to be expected on a national level, sure. People with intimate knowledge of the Cowboys know national reporters will often be drawn to pacifying the lowest-common-denominator fan with which (often false) narrative can be applied whenever anything ‘Dallas Cowboys’ happens. Not quite sure which parts of the metaphor get assigned to whom, but moths, flames, burning… all of that.

Perhaps one sees the team as the flame, the exploits of famous players such as Tony Romo and Dez Bryant drawing the winged-media to them. Maybe the media are the flame drawing in the LCD fans to be flambéed. Possible that the team is the flame, the fans are the moths and the media is fanning the fires as to attract more and more to the spectacle (and charging by the click). Regardless, the metaphor is there in some capacity.

So when national media tries to paint Dez Bryant’s involvement in this week’s practice brawls with the St. Louis Rams as a major catalyst to the action, you shrug it off as them reaching out to the LCD. When local media, who were either actually there or had brothers-in-journalism on location, try and paint that picture, disingenuous might be the nicest description available. Many worse words would seem more accurate.

Full disclosure; I am not in Oxnard, I did not witness the fights first-hand. I’ve never met Dez Bryant, never interviewed him or spoken to him. He, along with the guy that throws him the ball, are at the top of my list of current Cowboys I admire for both their on-the-field play and off-field journeys. With all that, I still feel more than capable of finding fault in either of these two men. Yet, I can’t see how anyone realistically finds fault in the action of either man for his actions on Tuesday.

From reports, there were three separate incidents of brawling on Tuesday (read Fish's take, direct from the Oxnard practice fields, here). Practicing on separate fields, the Cowboys offense continued to practice as their defense got into the first scrum with the Rams offense. The Rams defense all left the adjacent field to go participate, leaving the Cowboys offense practicing (and scoring a TD) against air.

Simple math tells us that would put the Rams brawlers at a distinct numbers advantage.

In the subsequent melees, Dez Bryant decided that protecting his teammates, his family, was more important than his personal safety. It’s a decision rational men have made millions of times the world over in much more dangerous circumstances.

Brawls can be dangerous, but let’s be real here. Injuries from fighting are the extent of danger in football brawls. This is elevated because of the nature of the profession, but it’s not as if a football brawl is going to escalate to someone getting shanked at the bottom of a pile, or someone leaving the club to wait outside for their opponent with a firearm. This isn’t that.

No one should go looking for them, but from where a lot of folks stand, allowing the people you love to be outnumbered in a situation where they could be injured is something unacceptable to stand for. Dez Bryant comes from that place.

There should be no shame in Tony Romo, Jason Witten and others for staying out of the melee while many of their brothers were knee deep. And there should be no shame in Dez Bryant deciding to enter the ruckus.

Both actions (or action and inaction) are completely justifiable responses to the situation. What isn’t justifiable is turning Bryant’s response into a conversation about whether or not his level of passion is a bad thing for the Cowboys. It’s as legitimate a stance as faulting Romo and Witten for not caring enough about their teammates safety to join the fray. It’s asinine.

Not every media member is well-versed in the application of the Alpha Male role. There are many different types of leaders on a football team and in essence, it’s a collection of men who have been the Alpha Male in their previous “dens”. On this team, Dez Bryant is the Alpha Male’s Alpha Male. It is as important a role as there is on a football team. He is the one that doesn’t allow his teammates to be trash-talked into submission. He is the one that refuses to let their wills be broken. He is the one that lets them know even the multi-millionaire star has their back when they are being constantly cheap-shotted and the opponent is trying to intimidate them. Painting Bryant, or any athlete, as a one-dimensional product of their exuberance is faulty. The guy on the brink of losing control, because really that's what's being implied, is also living this life:

.@DezBryant throws TD pass to @DezBryant Jr at #Cowboys camp @1053thefan pic.twitter.com/Nzm6jfJNgz

— mike fisher (@fishsports) August 21, 2015

Despite their 12-4 season, the Cowboys are not yet winners. The team doesn’t have a culture of confidence stemming from years and years of playoff experiences. If so, maybe Dez Bryant’s passion would be looked at similarly to Tom Brady’s. Maybe other things would need to be different as well. In the meantime, as they try to become that consistent winner, their will and might will be tested at all intersections.

Dez Bryant ‘s refusal to let anyone get the upper hand on his teammates is paramount to passing these tests. Practice fights amongst teammates happen in 32 training camps a year. All-out brawls between teams practicing against each other happen every year. To extract from Dez Bryant’s involvement in the latter, when there were literally 100 or more participants, a sign of a deeper problem in his uncontrolled rage makes little sense.

The idea that Dez Bryant’s passion is a detriment to his football team defies the logic and history of the entire National Football League itself. If Bryant’s passion is so out of bounds, where has it manifested itself as an issue in the Cowboys play, or his availability, in the first five years of his career? The sentiment of “it’s just a matter of time” is tired and overdone. Let it go.



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