Dez Bryant, the Dallas Cowboys’ ultra-talented second-year wide receiver, has his fair share of demons. When he was a child, his mother went to jail for selling crack. He lived in more than a handful of different homes during high school. He was suspended for lying about a meeting with Deion Sanders while at Oklahoma State. During his rookie year, he wouldn’t carry Roy Williams’ pads at training camp — in retrospect, this is pretty reasonable; I mean, it’s Roy Williams — and got in trouble for sagging his pants and wearing a hood at a mall (or something) and doing a bunch of other dickish stuff. And this summer, he was arrested and charged for allegedly hitting his mother.
Along the way, Deion Sanders stepped down from the task of being his mentor. (Deion’s been busy.) The latest development is that either the Cowboys have new rules to force Bryant into a boy-scout lifestyle, or that Bryant asked for help.
Regardless, the whole thing is weird as hell, and immensely infantilizing. I guess as far as creating a human being whose sole purpose is to robotically perform football tasks to the best of his ability, not going out past midnight and being constantly monitored will perfect Dez Bryant, Pass-Catching Automaton. But as far as creating a better, more mature human being — a more mature father; Bryant has children — dictating how a 23-year-old spends his time as though he’s a teenager isn’t going to be productive. It’s a band-aid on the proper issue, which is that Dez Bryant either doesn’t feel or isn’t felt capable of managing his own life responsibly.
That’s where bail-bondsman-turned-football-spiritualist David Wells fits in.
Wells, Bryant’s advisor, previously helped guide Adam “Pacman” Jones while he was with the Cowboys, and aided Michael Irvin before him as the receiver faced drug charges. He has an unspecific role in Bryant’s life that involved Bryant living with him at the time he was drafted by Dallas. According to a Dallas Morning News story about Wells, Michael Crabtree introduced the two in 2008, when Wells was advising Crabtree to hold out on the 49ers before he’d played a single NFL game. Prior to becoming an NFL Svengali, Wells lost the multi-million-dollar bail bonds business he’d built because of tax evasion in 2008; according to the Morning News article, he was put on three years probation, which would’ve had him still on probation while advising Crabtree and Bryant.
Wells has been advising Bryant for years. Before the incident with his mother this summer, Bryant hadn’t even been getting into criminal trouble; it was just these constant incidents of bad judgment, like arguing with mall security and skipping out on autograph sessions. Why is he all of a sudden supposedly asking for help, and how does this differ from his relationship with Wells in the first place? Whatever the quality of Wells’ “advice,” turning Bryant into a ward of a football team — monitoring him perpetually, like he’s a criminal — won’t give him the modicum of peace he seems to want. If that was Wells’ idea, he’s only making it harder for Bryant to grow up.