During a February 20, 2015 visit with Shan & RJ of 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, co-host Shan Shariff said this to me: “RJ [Choppy] and I have heard from two different people that there’s some story or some info the Cowboys have on Dez [Bryant] that may eventually come out, and it’ll explain all their hesitation and it’s such a major deal that they know about.”
In response, I said that the Cowboys are concerned about the possible emergence of a videotape that possibly shows Bryant doing something he shouldn’t have been doing.
“There’s talk of a video,” I said. “I don’t know that it exists. I know that among the people in the business it has been a commonly-discussed reality for months now. I don’t know that it even exists. I’ve heard it from multiple different people multiple different times. I know people are looking for it. . . . This may be an urban legend like the Yeti or the Abominable Snowman or the Loch Ness Monster. It may not exist. But that’s churning around out there, and people think that’s what keeping the Cowboys from making the long-term major commitment. . . . If that thing pops the day after they give him $50 million guaranteed, that’s a problem.”
After plenty of months of plenty of people claiming I said something a lot stronger than what I actually said, Dez Bryant said something that confirms everything that I said.
In a new Rolling Stone profile, Bryant explained that owner Jerry Jones specifically told Bryant about the video during the 2014 football season.
“The first time I heard that was from Mr. Jones last season: He said there was a tape of me that might get out,” Bryant said, via the Dallas Morning News.
Consider those words carefully. Jones didn’t say there could be or may be or might be a tape. He told Dez that there is a tape — and that it “might get out.”
What Jones told Bryant meshes with rumors that were circulating among members of the NFL media regarding the possible existence of a video from a Wal-Mart parking lot that may or may not show Bryant engaging in behavior that would subject him to scrutiny under the league’s Personal Conduct Policy. It was the worst-kept secret among members of the national NFL media; it was the best-kept secret from the perspective of the fans.
Once I admitted on the air what Jones previously had acknowledged to Bryant, other national reporters (like ESPN’s Adam Schefter) admitted that they were aware of and/or had been trying to find the video. Ian Rapoport of NFL Media later obtained a police report from July 2011 showing that an incident indeed occurred in the early-morning hours, with an eyewitness who called police claiming that a woman was dragged from a car registered to Bryant to another vehicle.
The responding officer ultimately concluded that no crime had been committed after Bryant arrived at the scene with a woman who claimed to be the woman who had been dragged between cars, and who claimed to be not injured in any way. However, the officer inexplicably didn’t request an immediate opportunity to review any Wal-Mart surveillance videos of the parking lot, the officer didn’t interview the man who supposedly had merely an argument with the woman, and the officer apparently did nothing to confirm that the woman who returned to the parking lot with Bryant was the same woman the eyewitness saw being dragged from one car to another and taken from the lot.
The fact that no video ever surfaced caused many to regard the rumor as blatantly false, ignoring the possibility that a video once existed and had been destroyed — or that a video still exists and whoever has it continues to keep it under wraps. The fact that the Dallas media considered the case to be closed when the local authorities and Wal-Mart claimed that they had no video of any incident took the steam out of a situation that still has plenty of unanswered questions. (To date, there has been no apparent local effort to track down the witnesses named in the police report in order to find out what they know.)
Bryant suspected that his former adviser, David Wells, leaked what he knew about the situation to the media. So Rolling Stone tracked Wells down. While Wells predictably denied it (Wells wasn’t my source, by the way), Wells added this: “But have you seen the police report? Have you heard the 911 call? Something happened in that parking lot, and I didn’t drum it up!”
A 911 call? That’s news to me. And it may be news to folks in Dallas who haven’t previously been inclined to gather much news about this story.
Whatever the truth ultimately is, Bryant’s own words to Rolling Stone prove that the Cowboys were indeed concerned about a video involving Dez being released to the media, which is exactly how this whole thing got started back in February. Since then, something apparently happened to address the owner’s concerns that “there was a tape of me that might get out.”
It doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t a tape, or that it won’t get out. Especially if someone like Wells has a copy of it, and if he ever becomes sufficiently upset to do something with it.