Yesterday evening, we had some bad storms come through. Lightning so fast and furious that it seemed like daytime. Thunder rolling continuously. Strong winds, heavy rains. Aaaand the power went out for an hour and a half. Which is why I didn't get to post this when I'd wanted to. So, though it is no longer new news, I'm still giving my opinion on the matter. And just what matter is that? The matter that is now jokingly being referred to as "Padgate".
Surely you know what I'm talking about. It's been splashed all over the headlines for the last two days. Heck, it was even the lead story in Toronto, Canada. Yes, I am talking about Dez Bryant declining to carry Roy Williams' pads after practice. Yeah, that...
OK, the first thing you need to understand is something Dez apparently didn't. This is the Dallas Cowboys. They always make the news. If this same thing had happened (as it probably has) on the Detroit Lions or the Rams, Dude, nobody would have known about it. It wouldn't have been considered newsworthy. But this is the Dallas Cowboys. And Dez Bryant. Throw in a bunch of two bit reporters desperately wanting to become the next Dan "I knew the papers were fake, but I really, really wanted them to be real so I reported the lie as if it were truth" Rather, and what should have been a non-issue suddenly becomes an international incident.
(Tony Gutierrez/AP Photo)Indeed, the media firestorm surrounding this incident has crossed the border into the realm of the ridiculous. In the post practice interviews, it's all anyone wanted to ask about. They badgered poor Jason Witten so much that he finally said he wasn't going to talk about it any more. So they asked one question about John Phillips, and were right back to the Dez Bryant Shoulder Pad incident.
For what it's worth, none of Dez's team mates have had anything negative to say about it. Jason Witten said it's been blown way out of proportion, it's been taken care of, and no it will not affect team chemistry. Bradie James said Dez didn't do anything wrong. Roy Williams said it's no big deal. Even head Coach Wade Phillips said that all this hazing stuff is voluntary, and that nobody on his team has to do anything he doesn't want to. He reminded reporters that Flozell Adams didn't do any of that stuff his rookie year, and he spent 12 years with the Cowboys, and his team mates respected him plenty enough. Dez himself said that if he'd known the media would get themselves worked up into a mouth foaming frenzy, he'd have carried the blankety blank pads. Well, he didn't say it exactly like that, but that's the gist of it.
The reaction among fans ranges from one extreme to another. Some say he's another T.O and has a real attitude problem. Others say, good for him. I suppose your perception of the incident depends largely on which article you read, and what spin that writer put on it. For example, if you read Shutdown Corner, written by a rabid Cowboy hater who never passes up a chance to sneer at the team, you'll probably be in the Dez Has An Attitude Problem camp. On the other hand, if you read Les Carpenter, you'll be in the Good For Dez camp. As in, it's about time someone stood up to the bullying, and face it, that's all hazing is anyway--the politically correct term for bullying. Funny, isn't it, that the ones who support hazing are not the ones being hazed. Ahh, but that's a whole nother topic.
To me, the real issue is the media. This should not have been a story. It should have never seen the light of day. It was resolved in house, and that's how it should have been handled. Now, it's over and the subject should be dropped. Does Dez have an attitude problem? That remains to be seen. You can't make a snap judgment over one isolated incident. Should he have carried the pads? It's tradition, but just because something is tradition doesn't mean it's a good thing. Does demeaning yourself earn you respect? Somehow, I don't think so. But when all is said and done, there is one thing I do know.
Dez just wants to play football. And I say we let him.