There is a reason why NFL teams look so deeply into character issues before drafting a player. And there is also a reason why Dallas wide receiver Dez Bryant tumbled down draft boards from a potential number 1 pick to pick number 24 in the 2010 NFL Draft. Bryant had major character issues beginning with a suspension he received for lying to NCAA investigators after visiting Deon Sanders' house.
Speculation was that Sanders tried to steer Bryant to his agent Eugene Parker during the visit. Even still, none of this would have been a violation if Bryant hadn't made the foolish move of lying to investigators about the visit. Going beyond this, Bryant was also tardy to numerous practices and meetings as an Oklahoma Sooner. As if Bryant hadn't hurt his own draft stock enough, NFL teams started looking at his mother, who went to jail for selling drugs and was even rumored to have been a prostitute.
In any case, the Cowboys took a chance on Bryant, and he turned out to be a solid rookie for the Cowboys after catching 45 passes for 561 yards, and scoring 6 touchdowns. But was this stat line really worth the recent embarrassment that Bryant has brought upon Dallas?
First up, Bryant made the news for being kicked out of the NorthPark Center shopping mall in Dallas. Bryant and three of his friends were walking through the mall with their pants sagging too low, and they were asked by police to pull their pants up. Apparently, all of their underwear were showing - except for one of Bryant's friends, whose butt crack was showing because he had no underwear on. Bryant got into a heated argument with the officers over his crew pulling their pants up, and he was escorted out of the mall.
Before the dust settled from this incident, it was reported yesterday that Bryant owes a jewelry store over $246,000 in unpaid purchase fees. For a guy who inked a 5-year, $11.8 million contract - $8.3 million of which is guaranteed - one has to ask why he can't foot the jewelry bill. Is he broke already? Going back to the mall incident, one also has to ask why the officer included this in their criminal trespassing warning report:
The suspect has had a pattern of behavior at NorthPark Center involving security/off duty being involved,” including an incident at the Apple store "where he attempted to cut in line" -- which DPD says "escalated to the point where Lt. T. Castro had to intervene. The suspect also received a parking citation for being parked in the fire lane during the past Christmas holidays. The suspect was also involved in a major disturbance at P.F. Chang's with an unknown female where police were notified but the suspect and the female left before police arrived.
The bad part is that neither the Cowboys or Roger Goodell can step in and do anything because of the lockout. Of course, that's not to say Bryant's actions aren't having some kind of impact on the NFL - especially in regards to the draft.
Judging from all of Bryant's recent troubles, you have to wonder if teams are going to scrutinize players like Auburn's Cam Newton and North Carolina's Robert Quinn a little more. After all, both are talented players who were the target of big NCAA investigations in their college career. Who knows....maybe these two will go on to be saints as far as NFL standards go. But one thing is sure, Dez Bryant isn't doing these guys any favors.