I highly recommend that all of you read this. It's an absolutely beautiful article from one of Dez's high school tutors.
They don't know him like I know him
Several years ago, I was on the sidelines for a Lufkin Panther football game when a player I’d been tutoring in English got smacked right in front of me. I’m talking a big hit: a slobber knocker, de-cleater, whatever you want to call it.
The player slid on the Abe Martin turf to a stop in front of me, got up and let out the obligatory “Whoop!” and prepared to re-enter the field.
Then he saw me and stopped, saying, “Hey, Mr. Stallard, I’m almost finished with that essay. Can I come see you tomorrow?”
In the middle of a football game, this kid was worried about an essay. He wasn’t even in my class; he was just getting outside help, and I happened to be it.
I’d gotten to know this kid through some of his friends who were students in my class. As a little extra motivation for some of those hard-core 9th graders, I offered to take them with me to Angelina College basketball games I was covering for the paper if their behavior and grades held up during the week. The football player tagged along on several occasions, cramming his long legs into my compact car and attending the games with us. I explained to the guys that I had to work during the game, and I couldn’t spend time chasing them down and worrying about where they were and what they were doing. In short, I trusted them to do the right thing with very little supervision.
I never once had a problem with those guys; however, one night one of them slipped outside Shands Gymnasium for some reason. I didn’t know anything about it until the football player practically dragged the offender to my place at the scorer’s table, telling the younger boy, “Don’t make Mr. Stallard look bad. Stay here.” The other kid stayed.
That night, I drove the football player home. He wanted me to meet his family so they’d know who I was any time he attended a game with me. When we got to his house, he asked me to wait outside. I didn’t understand why, but when he came back out with a trouble expression and asked me if we could do it another night, I got the hint. There was something he didn’t want me to see.
At the end of the season, after our tutorials — the football player had asked me to help so he could try and qualify for a Division I football scholarship — he and some of the other players I’d tutored brought me a signed Panther cap. It was their way of saying thanks, and to this day that cap holds a place of honor in my home.
Years later, I ran into that young man at another Lufkin football game. He greeted me with a hug and asked if I was still tutoring at night.
I told Dez Bryant that no, I’d moved over to Angelina College on a permanent basis, and invited him to another basketball game.
“Yes, sir,” Dez said before leaving me with another hug.
That’s the Dez Bryant I know. He’s the kid who’s sent me Facebook messages just asking me how I’m doing. Lord knows he doesn’t need me any more, but he still takes the time to keep in touch.
That’s why I’m still confused — and sometimes infuriated — as to all the negativity that streams his way. This past week, sports pundits treated Dez as if he’d committed some major crime, all over what they immediately perceived as temper tantrum — and later turned out to be nothing of the sort. When Dez made earlier comments about Calvin “Megatron” Johnson, those same writers and broadcasters made it sound as if Dez had compared himself to Jesus. They even said Dez “backtracked” when all the young man did was explain his comments.
It’s been that way from the beginning for Dez Bryant, and I just can’t understand why. Some of those interviewing him for the draft went way out of line with their questioning — a line of questioning they didn’t perform on any other player. They seemed to want him to fail.Even now, other players can commit various felonies and immoral acts and get a pass. But not Dez.
Yes, Dez has made some questionable decisions; sometimes his game-time demeanor is off-putting for those watching. But if someone had thrown fame and fortune at me when I was that age, I’m pretty sure I’d have handled most of it in a way I’d regret later. Anyone who says differently might just be speaking with a forked tongue. What I see now is a young man who, with very little personal guidance outside his coaches and teachers, is trying hard to become a better human being; sometimes he’s successful, and sometimes he isn’t. But from him, I can actually draw inspiration. So could the other writers, if they’d bother to look past their preconceived notions. They want so hard to see a thug, they’re determined to see one regardless of the truth.
They can say what they want, and I’m sure they will. All I know is an unfailingly polite young man who still says “Yes, sir” when he greets me and who acts nothing like a spoiled, rich athlete when I’m around him.
They can treat Dez like an outcast if they want. As for me, he’s welcome to ride with me to a game any time.
Stuff like this is why I try to defend Dez so much. Every single last person who's been around Dez has said he's a great guy trying to make something out of extremely bad beginnings. Everyone. Dude has never been arrested, never taken to jail, but like the article said, people want to label him as a thug so bad.
I was amazed (I know I shouldn't be) that people were still talking about what happened with Dez Sunday. Justin Blackmon was drafted 19 spots ahead of Dez in their respective drafts. Both came from the same school. Yes I know he plays for the Jags but the media is only giving his suspension a passing mention. Blackmon was held as "Dez Bryant w/o all the problems" Could you guys imagine how things would be if that was Dez?
That's why I root for him. Before he was even drafted by Dallas, I said whatever team he went too I would pay attention too and hope to see him flourish. Him being drafted by the immediately Cowboys made him my favorite player in sports.
People just want to see Dez to fail so bad. Right from that GM asking if his mom was a prostitute. I've personally never had a cop stop me from anything in my life, but I promise you, I'd be in jail if someone asked that about my mother. The unpaid jewelry thing. How many young pro sports players don't have some kind of problem like that? But with Dez it's National news that's still talked about. The mall situation, olives mean really? A 22 year old is sagging his pants in a mall and all of a sudden that's a major thing also? The thing with his mom was bad, you never touch your mother, don't care if she's trying to kill you. But people act like he beat her up like Chris Brown did. He hit her with a baseball cap.
Point being, people want to see a bad guy so bad with Dez, dating back to his dinner with Deion, but they don't. So, they latch on to any small thing that they can find to try to give him that bad guy label. Instead they see a guy who loves football, a guy that everyone who knows him raves about, a guy who never has been in trouble with the law, a guy who has proved everyone wrong not only with his play, but his personality, Dez was supposed to be Blackmon.
But he's not, and it drives them crazy.Edited by Blackboyfly - 11/3/13 at 5:15am