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Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Updated: August 29, 2:55 PM ET
First rule of the Dez Bryant Rules ...

By Jean-Jacques Taylor
ESPNDallas.com

IRVING, Texas -- Jerry Jones, one of the most powerful men in professional sports, sounds wishy-washy these days.

That's what happens when you can't figure out whether to tell some of the truth, all of the truth or lie about the Dez Rules.

Jerry Jones and Dez Bryant
Jerry Jones has sent mixed messages about Dez Bryant's rules.

After Saturday night's preseason win over the St. Louis Rams, Jerry acknowledged to ESPNDallas.com that Dez Bryant had been placed under a strict set of rules designed to eliminate all off-the-field issues. He even said they weren't the toughest set of rules he'd ever placed upon a player.

Then Jerry went on KRLD-FM in Dallas on Tuesday and suggested the Dez Rules didn't actually exist.

Can you say poppycock?

Heck, Jason Garrett acknowledged the rules existed at his Monday news conference and said they were designed to make Bryant accountable.

"I'm not going to discuss any of the rules, because that implies that there are a certain set of rules," Jones said on the show. "I don't know that that's correct, either.

"So really, just by the nature of it, it's not one that you would really discuss. We have rules of behavior in the NFL and we have rules of behavior with the Cowboys as well. So I'm not so sure there's been any new rule created here."

Huh?

If the rules didn't exist, then Jerry would be screaming from the top of downtown's Bank of America Plaza denying their existence instead of playing the semantics game.

The Cowboys have their own website and flagship radio station, which provides an opportunity for them to promote whatever propaganda they choose.

During his radio interview, Jerry said he didn't come up with the Dez Rules, a classic case of Jerry semantics. It's naive to think Jerry wasn't apprised of the rules as they were being constructed.

As I wrote on the first day of training camp, Jerry had two lengthy meetings with David Wells, Bryant's adviser, the week before training camp, according to two sources.

Do you think they were discussing the bail bonds business? My guess is they were constructing the parameters of the Dez Rules.

Seriously, do you think anything happens at Valley Ranch without Jerry's knowledge, especially something the magnitude of the Dez Rules? Why do you think the union contacted Eugene Parker, Bryant's agent, to make sure he and Bryant were fine with the rules?

If the rules were self-imposed, the NFLPA wouldn't care. What's the big deal anyway?

Jones I'm not going to discuss any of the rules, because that implies that there are a certain set of rules. I don't know that that's correct, either.

-- Cowboys owner Jerry Jones

We all know Bryant has had a litany of mostly minor off-the-field issues since the Cowboys took him in 2010 with the 24th pick of the first round. Until July, he'd never been involved in anything that would be considered a big deal.

That changed when he was arrested on a family violence charge, stemming from a confrontation with his 37-year-old mother.

Let's keep it real: The Dez Rules are about protecting the Cowboys' investment.

No more, no less.

So there's no need to see if there's some racial element to the Dez Rules. Or if Bryant's civil liberties are being violated.

The Cowboys are trying their best to keep this dude on the field.

This team needs him to be a playmaker capable of taking over a game with his athletic prowess. He showed the ability last season with 63 catches for 928 yards and nine touchdowns.

He's had an outstanding offseason on the field and seems poised to finally deliver on his potential.

The Cowboys want him to experience all of the wonderful things he can do on the football field if chaos doesn't consume his off-the-field life.

The Dez Rules also give the Cowboys an opportunity to show commissioner Roger Goodell they have Bryant and his off-the-field issues under control, especially since the NFL has partnered with the White House on a public service campaign against domestic violence.

Until Bryant's case is formally resolved -- Bryant's mother wants the charges dropped -- the league has maintained it will not rule on whether Bryant will be fined or suspended.

With the Dez Rules in place -- no matter what Jerry says -- Bryant is already under house arrest.

There's no need for Goodell to impose anything else.