I keep waiting for the revolution. Waiting for the trumpet that sounds revolt. Waiting for all these macho football players who ooze testosterone to start being as tough as they act. To stand up to the bullies who run pro football.
The interrogation of Dez Bryant has illuminated the intimidation. Dolphin general manager Jeff Ireland’s question — he asked Bryant if his mother was a prostitute not because he didn’t know or even needed to know, but to see Dez’s reaction — shows the relationship in NFL scouting interviews. It’s not prospective employee and prospective employer. It’s detective and suspect. It’s boot-camp sergeant and just-off-the-bus recruit. It’s psychological warfare, with the players mentally scrambling to make sure they don’t say the wrong thing. And it will take a braveheart to stand up to the establishment. Which Dez Bryant isn’t. Poor Dez is the NFL’s Hester Prynne. The scarlet letter attached to Dez’s jersey is a capital T, for troubled. OSU pulled Dez’s 2009 season out from under him after he lied to NCAA investigators, and a series of scuttlebutt has followed him since. Habitually late. Questionable judgment. Irregular heartbeat. Trust him with a million-dollar contract at your own peril, which is why Dez, with top-10 talent, fell all the way to the Cowboys at No. 24 in the draft’s first round. Which is legit. The NFL shouldn’t be a blank-check league. But that doesn’t mean common decency catches the last train for the coast. That doesn’t mean the NFL can go all CIA on its draft prospects. Heck, Ireland’s question probably was illegal. There are tons of questions you can’t ask in job interviews, everything from age to where you live. What your parents do for a living seems to qualify for the don’t-ask list. Sure, Dez Bryant came from a rough background. Received no home training. Maybe his dad was a pimp and his mom a druggie and maybe Dez even admitted it. But that’s still no license to take empathy off the table. Typical sports attitude. The laws of the land and the laws of civility don’t apply to the people who run the games we play.