Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant never knew that a player who takes off his helmet when complaining to an official is automatically flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. Until he found out the hard way on Sunday.
Bryant was flagged for offensive pass interference against the Vikings, and when he approached referee Jeff Triplette to question the call, he took off his helmet. Bryant said he wasn’t trying to get in Triplette’s face and had no idea that he would be penalized for taking his helmet off.
“I wasn’t angry at the ref,” Bryant told the Dallas Morning News. “I was trying to see what the call was. I thought they called pass interference on the defense. When I was trying to come out of my break, the guy was tugging on me a little bit and I was trying to break away from it. He threw the flag and the whole time I’m thinking it’s a flag on [Minnesota]. Then I took my helmet off and I didn’t know that that was a penalty. I was kind of shocked and then I heard the ref say, ‘He took his helmet off.’ I know now not to take my helmet off. If you go back and look at the play, you’ll see I’m shocked. I’m confused.”
Bryant may not have known that’s a penalty, but it is: When a player takes off his helmet to argue a call, he gets flagged. Period.
But when asked why he took his helmet off, Bryant said he just wanted to make sure Triplette could understand him when he was asking about the flag.
“So he could see me clear,” Bryant said. “I took my helmet off so I could tell him. I didn’t know it was a flag because the play was over with. I’ll learn from it.”
The Cowboys’ coaches may want to sit down with Bryant for a chat about other rules, so that he doesn’t have to learn anything else by getting a 15-yard penalty.