Ryan Clark: Bryant criticism 'unfair'

Updated: October 30, 2013, 6:35 PM ET
By Scott Brown | ESPN.com

PITTSBURGH -- Ryan Clark fired back at those who have bashed Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant for his sideline theatrics last Sunday and said such criticism reflects a double standard in the NFL.

"I've seen Tom Brady cuss and scream and do all kind of things but nobody looks at him like that," the outspoken Pittsburgh Steelers safety said Wednesday. "I just think it's unfair the way we see it and the way the media portrays certain things because of personal feelings about a person."

Clark said he saw nothing wrong with what Bryant did even though cameras showed him having heated discussions on the sideline with several teammates, including tight end Jason Witten. Bryant's actions overshadowed a spectacular touchdown catch he made in the Cowboys' 31-30 loss to the Detroit Lions.

"Dez Bryant wasn't going off. Dez Bryant said, 'We are the best in the NFL at this.' Doesn't sound like going off to me," Clark said. "Were his hands flailing, did he use some vulgarity? Yes. But his speech was, 'We are the best in the NFL at this. They can't stop us doing this.' What's wrong with that?"

Clark didn't find fault with another topic that has driven NFL discussion this week: the message that Brandon Meriweather sent when he said he would target receivers' knees after serving a one-game suspension.

ClarkI've seen Tom Brady cuss and scream and do all kind of things but nobody looks at him like that. I just think it's unfair the way we see it and the way the media portrays certain things because of personal feelings about a person.

-- Ryan Clark, on criticism
of Dez Bryant's sideline tirade

The Washington Redskins safety was suspended by the NFL for repeatedly violating the rule that prohibits hitting defenseless players in the head.

"Obviously the position that he's in makes him sound angry, makes it sounds a little more cruel than it truly is," Clark said of Meriweather's comments. "But what he's saying is extremely true or has a lot of fact to in the sense that the one place we know we can hit guys and you won't get fined is extremely low.

"What he says makes a lot of sense to me. You just wish he was in a better position emotionally to where people can really understand it and really know that he's only saying he's trying to be as safe as possible as far as not getting fined, not getting suspended, not getting penalized."

The NFL's crackdown on dangerous hits has forced defensive backs to lower their hitting targets, and there have been several instances this season when a receiver has suffered a serious knee injury because he got hit low.

Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown said he doesn't worry about getting hit -- whether it is high or low.

"It's football," Brown said. "We signed up for it. You put your big boy pads on and you come to play."

Scott Brown

ESPN Pittsburgh Steelers reporter

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