Unless you've been living under a rock, by now you are well aware that Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant is at the center of a bit of controversy.
Bryant turned himself into authorities (and was released on $1,500 bond) on Monday afternoon soon after learning that an arrest warrant had been issued for him in Desoto. He has been charged with a Class A Misdemeanor for Assault Injury-Family Violence after his mother, Angela Bryant called 9-1-1 on him on Saturday.
Some facts from the arrest warrant that you may not be aware of are as follows. The police that responded to the initial call did not see any physical injuries on Ms. Bryant (nor did she complain of physical pain) and did not pursue an arrest at that time. Two different officers followed up on the call on Monday, at which time Ms. Bryant complained of pain and swelling to her wrists, hands and arms.
The officers witnessed the swelling and took Ms. Bryant to the police station so that she could provide a written statement. The written statement claimed that Dez grabbed her and she was trying to pull away, and that Dez struck her repeatedly on her wrists and hands. She also complained that she was sore in the chest from Dez pushing her. In public statements, the police have said that Ms. Bryant admitted to "grabbing Dez's shirt" and him forcibly knocking her away, per Yahoo!Sports.
There are several unknowns that are left remaining in this case, regardless of how several news and media outlets are trying to frame this as a done deal. Bryant was simply arrested, he has not had his day in court. He has not even made a public statement yet. Is Ms. Bryant's account of happenings trustworthy? Does a doctor feel her injuries are consistent with offensive or defensive interaction? Did the witnesses corroborate her story? Is it proper protocol for a follow up visit by different officers two days after a complaint is registered? There are a myriad of things that none of us are privy to at the moment, despite what many local and national columnists are writing in their articles from their moral high ground.
Side note. Did you know that in 2010, 3% of all US citizens were arrested for some sort of crime? Did you know that since Kevin Ogletree kicked off September 2011, 34 NFL athletes have been arrested? That's less than 2% of all NFL players on rosters or practice squads; a lower percentage of players than the general population. Food for thought.
In reality though, none of it should matter to any of us. Dez Bryant is simply a football player. He doesn't owe you or me anything personally. He isn't raising my kids (I got strong genes, my kid looks like me.) The only thing that should matter to all of us is, what are the possible ramifications for the Dallas Cowboys?
There are basically three scenarios that can play out that will need to be examined for the short and the long term effects on the franchise. One, Dez could be completely in the wrong (the take most writers have clung to already) and a guilty verdict is forthcoming. Two, Dez is deemed as partially responsible and through the dropping of charges and sealed records has this hang over his head in "Cowboys national spotlight" fashion. And three, Dez is completely exonerated of all charges and cleared of any wrong doing.
For the long term, the third option is easy. Dez will not be (or shouldn't be) suspended, he'll be allowed to start the season and barring injury Cowboys fans will get to see a player that just 48 hours ago was getting lauded for being "Stronger, Faster, Quicker", improving his route running and being everything the Cowboys wanted him to be this offseason. He plays for the next few seasons under his rookie deal, and excels. Bryant earns the top receiver role and the offense is built around him. Easy right?
The second option is trickier. A week ago, a well-known website made an attention-grab comment that Dallas' front office had already made up their mind about the future of Dez Bryant with the team, and there wasn't any past his rookie deal. A murky resolution to this incident definitely wouldn't make that go away if it were true, and probably starts the consideration process even if it wasn't there in the first place. Dez's previous embarrassments had never been violent, but he would now have the burden to show proof that he wasn't continuing to be around people that could hurt him. And we're talking about family members in this instance. Dallas looks to draft an early WR; and they have only drafted Bryant and fifth-rounder Danny Coale in the top five rounds since Romo became the starter.
The third option, an out and out conviction, could easily lead to the early end of Bryant's tenure with the Cowboys. The team has been in a rebuild effort and while owner Jerry Jones isn't allergic to performing players that are in the news for the wrong reasons, Coach Jason Garrett would seem to be. If Garrett is in for the long haul, he might look to move on from the constant headlines. Again, Dallas is in immediate need for a young WR.
The short term waters are just as choppy. Third option, great. Dallas enters the season with whatever gameplan they are using currently regarding their wide receiver depth chart. No pursuing the case? No problems.
Second option? Dez probably receives a one to four game suspension; possibly from the team, most likely from Sherriff Goodell. The question is, when does the suspension get handed down? Being that this is Bryant's first arrest, I'd find it hard to believe that any action will take place before a resolution in the legal matter is reached. Is that in the next two months? After the New Year? If it's this season, Dallas might find themselves in a bind that I've worried about consistently over the offseason.
Dallas is currently set to enter the 2012 season with only three experienced wideouts; Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Kevin Ogletree. You all remember Kevin Ogletree don't you? He of the Romo having to line him up after the huddle breaks and yelling in frustration on more than one occasion in '11? And that's if Ogletree makes the team. After them, it's nothing but unproven commodities. Andre Holmes, Dwayne Harris, Danny Coale, Cole Beasley and any of the other UDFA possibilities have a total of one NFL snap between them. One.
And one of them could be a starter for the Dallas Cowboys. That's a problem. The Cowboys have to seriously consider bringing in a veteran (something I advise they should be doing anyway) in this scenario. Patrick Crayton, Plaxico Burress, Braylon Edwards are names that you are familiar with that are available. There's also Terrell Owens, but do we want to go there?
If Dez goes to trial, the first option, it most likely won't happen until after the season is over. Normally misdemeanor cases have no reason for fast tracking, and seeing how Bryant's employment is seasonal, they would probably look for a January/February start date. In that case, we assume Bryant would play out the season and a possible guilty verdict wouldn't affect the 2012 season.
So those are the only scenarios we should be worried about. But who am I kidding? This is a TMZ world, where every consumer feels he owns a part of each celebrity or athlete that interests him and that person better live up to his standards or else. Besides, if I don't hold my athletes to higher standards, who's going to raise my son for me? DirecTV and Viacom haven't worked out a way to take more of my money so there goes the casts of Jersey Shore and Love and Hip Hop as role models.