How quickly we are to judge a man, ridicule him for acquiescing to what appears to be absurd restrictions levied on him by his employer. How and why could anyone agree to these restrictions? Is it racial, would a white player ever receive the same treatment? Is it about the money, an attempt to keep his nose clean until he can collect on a phat NFL contract? Now we see, now we know, the man needed help and was MAN enough to ask for it. The man is Dez Bryant, troubled wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys.

Bryant’s most recent brush with the law involved an alleged misdemeanor family violence situation where he’s been accused of the unthinkable, striking his mother Angela. The Dallas County district attorney’s office has yet to file charges, and Bryant’s mother is asking for the case to be dropped. This wasn’t being banned from a mall for disturbances, flaking on a jewelry bill or having an inappropriate dinner while still a student athlete. Maybe this was it, the breaking point. Maybe after realizing what he had done (allegedly), and who he had done it too (allegedly), he realized it was time for him to change (actually). A person knows himself better than all others, and this person realized that any change, in order for it to be genuine, would need to involve someone other than himself. Isn’t the first step of solving a problem admitting a problem exists in the first place?

Some people can’t be helped. Sometimes you extend your arm to lend a hand, only to have it slapped back at you. When the Cowboys tried to help another troubled talent, Adam “PacMan” Jones, it proved to be too difficult as Jones got into a physical altercation with a member of the security detail charged with keeping HIM out of trouble. Now, it is in the interest of both Dez Bryant and the Dallas Cowboys that this young man’s attempt to clean up his act is successful. The restrictions are as follows:

  • No alcohol consumption at all.
  • There will be times put in place to restrict how late Bryant is out at night, but he won't necessarily have a specific, drop-dead curfew time. It will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
  • Bryant won't visit strip clubs or nightclubs unless an establishment is hosting a team function and he has a security team with him.
  • Mandatory bi-weekly counseling sessions.
  • A multi-member, unarmed security team will be assigned to Bryant, with at least one man with him most of the time.
  • The security team will drive Bryant to games, practices and team functions.

These aren’t the worst restrictions imaginable, but for an adult to realize he has a problem controlling himself, and doing something about that problem says something. "He's very open-minded and cooperative to doing the right thing by his teammates and the right thing,” said team owner and general manager Jerry Jones of his wide receiver. If this is successful, and Bryant stays out of trouble and continues to enjoy success on the field… I wonder how many teams will explore the same options with troubled players on their rosters? Will language like the above become standard operating procedure in a rookie’s contract, a little like extreme sports being restricted by clubs in order to avoid off the job injuries? Right now, sitting in a rehab facility in Houston, I’m sure there is a Honey Badger wondering the very same thing.

-Joseph Haas

Contact Joseph Haas ad Follow the conversation on Twitter @JerseyHaas

***Original post date 8.28.2012; The Honey Badger had a great showing at the 2013 NFL Combine***