Have you caught up on all your DVR’d episodes of “NCIS: Los Angeles”? Taken some criminology courses at Phoenix Online? Watched Johnny Depp as Sherlock Holmes? Because that’ll be the background you need to follow the story surrounding the Dez Bryant tape.
Since the weekend, this saga has unfolded one bread crumb at a time. There may be a video. It may have one of the league’s best players on it. He may be doing something criminal in a Wal-Mart parking lot. His former posse could be shopping it around. There’s a race to acquire the video, or at least figure out if it exists. Extortion. Betrayal. Gossip. Football. Celebrity. History. Violence.
It has all the makings of a salacious and easily digestible American drama.
Except it’s complicated. And vague. And maybe ultimately hollow. So what to make of all this? Let’s start with the facts. We know this: The police report mentions that an unknown person called the police to explain that a female was “being dragged from one vehicle to another vehicle” by a male. The vehicle the woman was dragged from was a Mercedes registered to Dez Bryant.
Not good. But not necessarily Dez doing the dragging. It has inevitably raised the questions of whether Bryant is a bad guy capable of this type of violent behavior. He clearly has a checkered past, and a dysfunctional upbringing. But the incident happened almost four years ago, and Bryant has been seemingly trouble-free for awhile. Do you believe in Dez?
Skeptics believe this could be all an internet hoax. But that was essentially squashed when Adam Schefter admitted he’s been working on acquiring the tape since September. ESPN doesn’t attach it’s top NFL reporter to a dead-end case throughout the season unless there’s something substantial there. It was also buffered by today’s report from Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk and NBC Sports that stated unequivocally, “Eventually, the video is coming out.” Do you believe in the media?
Some have suggested it’s “five-times worse” than the Ray Rice video. But that may depend on how you view the Rice footage and domestic violence. Unfortunately, now that we’ve watched the grotesque film of a football player knocking out his fiancee in an elevator, our senses may be dulled. Michael Bay needs to blow up skyscrapers in Bad Boys II, because we’ve already seen the speed boats explode in the first installment. Do you believe in the American public?
The Cowboys could be digging themselves a dangerous hole. Team COO Stephen Jones said just days ago he had no knowledge of a video. Which seems flimsy, far-fetched, and potentially dangerous ground to stand on. So ESPN has been working on attaining it for seven months, and according to Florio this video has been an open secret among national NFL media for a long time, but the Cowboys (who have to decide whether to give a huge contract extension to Dez) have never heard of it? There’s plausible deniability, which would be the team hasn’t seen the video. But that they aren’t even aware there could be one? Well, this sounds a lot like… ah yes, the Baltimore Ravens. We all remember how badly that was screwed up by the team and the NFL. See no evil, hear no evil, until the world sees the evil, and then run from the shrapnel. Do you believe in the league?
Ben Rogers from the Cowboys flagship home, 105.3 The Fan, joined my show. The visuals of this also change the game, as we saw in the Ray Rice situation. The police report described exactly what happened in the elevator. But the footage finally caused a national shriek in horror. “So I think the word ‘video’ being attached to these rumors makes it extra scary for everybody involved,” Rogers told me. “And it’s that much more powerful because… video, we’ve learned, has tremendous impact on things in the league.” Do you believe in technology?
We are merely left with a barrage of innuendo, whispers, and one internet morsel at a time. Supplemented by a police report, Dez posting on social media about personal troubles, and a frenzy to find the tape. It’s enough to drive you batty, or just click-happy all day on the web. There’s still a ton of questions, and they’re now coming fast and feverishly. But the most important one still seems to be: Who do you believe?
D.A. hosts 6-10pm ET on the CBS Sports Radio Network. He has hosted The D.A. Show (aka “The Mothership”) in Boston, Miami, Kansas City and Ft. Myers, FL. You can often catch him on the NFL Network’s series “Top 10.” D.A. graduated from Syracuse University in ’01, and began looking for ways to make a sports radio show into a quirky 1970’s sci-fi television series. Follow D.A. on Twitter and check out the show’s Facebook page. D.A. lives in NYC, and is a native of Warwick, NY.