The latest report on the Walmart video incident appears to clear Dez Bryant. (Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
On Pro Football Talk Thursday morning Mike Florio became the first media member to finally shed some light on what he calls “the previously worst-kept secret among reporters covering the NFL”, the alleged video that supposedly shows Dallas Cowboys wideout Dez Bryant doing something “five times worse than Ray Rice” (from Pro Football Talk):
In a letter dated February 17, the City of Lancaster, Texas police department produced to NFL Media via the Texas Public Information Act an incident/investigation report from July 2011 regarding a police response to the Lancaster Wal-Mart.
The report mentions that an unknown person called the police to explain that a black female was “being dragged from one vehicle to another vehicle” by a black male. The vehicle the woman was dragged from was a Mercedes registered to Dez Bryant.
When a police officer responded, a Wal-Mart security guard explained that he arrived at the scene with the door to the Mercedes still open and a child’s toy on the ground, but that no one was present. Then, two men pulled up in an Escalade registered to Dez Bryant. The two men, Carl King and Christopher Mitchell, said they received a call from the alleged victim, asking them to pick up “her” Mercedes.
Then, a Bentley arrived in the parking lot, with the alleged victim and Dez Bryant inside. The alleged victim claimed that she had an argument with a man named Alex Penson, that she was not assaulted or injured in any way, and that it was “just an argument” with Penson. The alleged victim claimed she was dropped off at a friend’s house, and that she contacted Bryant to pick her up.
The responding officer determined after talking to all parties that there was no offense, and that everyone was free to go.
So that’s it? Let me be clear from the outset that I am 100 percent against dragging women from cars into other cars. I believe I can stand on my record of being firmly and consistently anti-dragging women from vehicles under any circumstances, with the exception of those times when said vehicle is on fire and about to explode. I have taken a leadership role on this cause and it was I who coined the slogan, “Friends don’t let friends drag their female friends out of automobiles.”
That said, is there a way this could be “five times worse” than the video where Ray Rice cold-cocks his wife with a punch to the head? Without knowing any more than this report indicates, that would have to be one hell of a drag. I mean, it would have to have been done with a gaffer’s hook or something. And if the alleged victim is calmly telling the police she wasn’t “assaulted or injured” and he sent everyone on their merry way, it’s hard to compare it to the sight of Rice dragging an unconscious Janay Rice out of that elevator. Again, I don’t condone whatever did happen here. But unless there’s something really more egregious than this, I think this incident was oversold by somebody.
This doesn’t exonerate Dez Bryant either. Maybe he didn’t do anything criminal here. But this is the kind of thing people were talking about when he came out of college and his scouting report had more red flags than the first draft of my tax return. This is why Dallas took the unprecedented step of hiring someone to go everywhere with him to keep him out of trouble, like being the au pair to a grownass man. And this is why the Patriots passed on Bryant, trading the No. 24 pick in the 2010 draft to Dallas in order to move back and take the decidedly sane, rational, not-ever-fighting-in-Walmart-parking-lots Devin McCourty. And this is why every NFL team better do some serious due diligence before deciding to write Bryant a giant check this free agency period.
Again, we still don’t know anything more than this one report. But if true, it would appear to clear Bryant and validate all the NFL reporters who decided not to jump to conclusions and rush to judgement and declare him guilty of criminal wrongdoing here. Now if only those same reporters would have given the Patriots the same benefit of the doubt on Deflategate. But, I guess that would be asking too much.