During Thursday’s broadcast of ESPN2’s “First Take,” co-host Stephen A. Smith gave his reaction to recent news of a video floating around of Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant dragging a female from one vehicle to another in a Wal-Mart parking lot. The police were called, but no charges were made.
Stephen A. Smith wants to know that if Bryant put his hands on a woman and the Cowboys know about it, why it’s only coming out now that his contract is up. The Cowboys have the option of placing a franchise tag on Bryant, meaning that he would not hit free agency. For the 2015 season, Bryant would be guaranteed to make the average salaries of the top five wide receivers in the NFL on a one year contract. In 2014, that one-year number was $12.312 million. If the Cowboys were to not franchise him, they could also sign him to a long-term contract or he would be free to sign with any team in the NFL.
“I haven’t reported on it. That’s number one. Number two, no one else seems to know anything either. Number three, the fact that nobody knows anything yet Dez Bryant is being discussed in this capacity is very disturbing to me. Number four, if this man put his hands on a woman, he should be dealt with. He should have been arrested. More importantly, he shouldn’t have been a member of the Dallas Cowboys. Number five, if indeed he put his hands on somebody, he did anything, ok, because we’re all saying we don’t know, if he’s done anything of that variety, and the Dallas Cowboys were aware of it, why has Dez Bryant been a member of this team? Why has he been here? And why is it an issue now right around the time when contract negotiations are coming up? So we want to sit here and say that it’s a concern of the Dallas Cowboys, which is why they’re reluctant with their long-term offer, which by the way, I have no problem with this.”
Smith went on to say, “And, to me, the people who would know other than Dez Bryant are the Cowboys. And we’re bringing up — care introduced the subject and what did you say, care? 2011. Let’s see. 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014. Four years where he has been a member of the Dallas Cowboys and y’all heard this, y’all heard that. But he’s getting paid. Y’all are raving about him. Everybody loves Dez Bryant. He’s the man. And then his contract negotiation comes up and now this subject is broached. It’s unfortunate. I’ll leave it at that.”
He later added, “But what I’m saying to you is this, listen, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. I’m not — whether that applies to Dez Bryant or the Cowboys or somebody, all I’m trying to imply is that the Cowboys, we sit here and we ask these questions about Dez. We all know this in the court of public opinion at the very least that raises an eyebrow and to some degree, whether it be small or large, sullies the name of a Dez Bryant. And maybe he deserves it, I don’t know. I don’t know what he’s guilty or innocent of. I don’t know what he has done. And I reserve the right upon further evidence to sit around and judge accordingly. But what I’m saying is that it amazes me that we can bring up something about a player from four years ago and what he may or may not have done. We can contribute to sullying his character even though when there’s no factual evidence to our knowledge that he is guilty of such a thing, but we just gloss over the Cowboys. Because, to me, if he is guilty of anything, then the Cowboys must be guilty of knowing. So what about them? We got to ask these questions. And how does stuff end up — if we end up finding more about this stuff, was it swept under the rug? And if it was, who facilitated that?”
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