Commentary

Dez Bryant must be held accountable

Cowboys should impose restrictions on WR and fine him if he violates them

Updated: July 30, 2012, 5:06 PM ET
By Jean-Jacques Taylor | ESPNDallas.com

OXNARD, Calif. -- Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, among the most powerful men in sports, has yet to have a single conversation with Dez Bryant 15 days after Angela Bryant's chilling 911 phone call to the DeSoto (Texas) police that resulted in her son being arrested on a misdemeanor family violence charge.

Ridiculous.

"I don't know why," said Jerry, when asked why he hadn't spoken to Bryant. "When I say that, it hasn't been a deliberate thing. I just haven't sat down and talked with him. I want to have more information."

Really? That has to be a joke. Nothing else makes sense.

[+] EnlargeDez Bryant
AP Photo/James D SmithDez Bryant is never going to understand there are consequences for his actions if he never has to deal with the consequences.

What other information could Jerry possibly need. He can listen to the 911 tape himself and read the police reports and affidavits, which will tell him everything he could possibly want to know.

Jerry spent the week at the club's Valley Ranch training facility, and twice met with Bryant's advisor, David Wells, according to two sources. It's silly to believe the owner couldn't find time to wedge a meeting with Bryant into his busy schedule.

Jason Garrett is forever preaching accountability and putting together a roster full of the right kind of guys who do the right thing each and every day.

Yet, Dez Bryant hasn't even met with the owner after being the only player on the roster arrested and charged with a crime this offseason.

That's right. No conversation. No lecture. No come-to-Jesus meeting.

Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

The Cowboys must make Bryant accountable right now.

Or we must consider everything Garrett says concerning accountability a bunch of empty words that lack substance. And we must consider Jerry the king of enablers.

This a time for action -- not dialogue. Bryant is never going to understand there are consequences for his actions if he never has to deal with the consequences.

We've all heard the jokes suggesting the Cowboys give Bryant a room at the club's practice facility, so they don't have to worry about him getting to work on time or having off-the-field issues.

Well, we all know the Cowboys aren't going to do that, but they can certainly make him accountable.

The Cowboys should put Bryant under house arrest, so to speak.

They should demand Bryant avoid all dance clubs, strip clubs and any other party that isn't at a teammate's residence.

They should impose a curfew, 1 a.m the absolute latest. Remember what your mama told you about nothing good happening after midnight.

The Cowboys should also make sure Bryant doesn't have any trouble magnets hanging around -- male or female -- and the team should demand he attend mandatory counseling for as long as it takes to deal with the cauldron of emotional issues bubbling inside him.

If he violates any of the conditions, the Cowboys should fine him the maximum allowable by the league's collective bargaining agreement. And if the lost money isn't enough of a deterrent, then they should release him.

If it happens during the season -- let's hope it doesn't -- then so be it. The Cowboys once cut Quincy Carter during training camp because his life was spiraling out of control.

Bryant won't like the restrictions.

Too bad.

It's Bryant's own fault he finds himself in this predicament. When his behavior changes, the Cowboys can ease the restrictions.

Besides, when the commissioner gets around to deciding whether to suspend or fine Bryant, the Cowboys can point to their own self-imposed sanctions as a plea for leniency.

Remember, it's always better to be proactive than reactive when it comes to punishment.

Perhaps, Jerry just hasn't felt like dealing with Bryant's issues right now because they take away from the optimism associated with the start of training camp.

That would be a huge gaffe because this thing ain't going away, even though Angela Bryant wants the charges against her son dropped.

The NFL's personal conduct policy is so broad that all it takes to get popped for a game or two by commissioner Roger Goodell is an incident that brings embarrassment to the league.

"We are going to support Dez Bryant, we are going to support Dez Bryant's mom and we are going to support Dez Bryant's family as much as we can," Garrett said. "And we are going to be very aware of that line between enabling someone and this kind of situation of supporting him. We are very sensitive to that."

We've heard the words. Now, we need to see the action.

Jean-Jacques Taylor joined ESPNDallas.com in August 2011. A native of Dallas, Taylor spent the past 20 years writing for The Dallas Morning News, where he covered high schools sports, the Texas Rangers and spent 11 seasons covering the Dallas Cowboys before becoming a general columnist in 2006.

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