Dez Bryant’s $55,000 rookie dinner tab was an eye opener


As a rookie with the Cowboys in 2010, Dez Bryant was told that it was his responsibility to pick up the tab for a dinner with teammates. Some of those teammates ran wild with the most expensive items they could find on the high-end steakhouse menu, and when the check came, it was $55,000.

Reflecting on it now, Bryant says that it was an eye-opening experience. It made him angry about some of his veteran teammates, and it also made him re-assess how he dealt with teammates.

“The way I look at that is some guys do it just to be [expletive],” Bryant said on FOX Sports 1, via the Dallas Morning News. “I paid $55,000 for a dinner, and it struck me the wrong way. I could’ve easily went off on every last one of them, but I didn’t. I kept myself together, and I wanted to change that. So you know what I did, went out there and did my thing. Now they’re allowing me to call the shots.”

Spending $55,000 on one dinner is, frankly, stupid. Dinners like that are a reason many players go broke despite making millions of dollars. The NFL and the NFL Players Association should tell veteran players to knock it off with that kind of rookie hazing. Now that Bryant is a veteran who calls the shots in the locker room, he should make it clear that no rookie is responsible for picking up a veteran’s dinner tab.

117 responses to “Dez Bryant’s $55,000 rookie dinner tab was an eye opener

  1. This whole franchise is a mess!!! If Dez is calling any shots….it’s even worse!!!!

  2. “should” and “will” are two different things. especially when you’re now on the receiving end of the gift chain.

  3. Typical Cowboys culture. I don’t have any love for Dez Bryant but he was right to be P.O.’d. No call for that at all.

  4. Interesting. Dez Bryant picked himself up and went out and did his thing on the field and moved on from this.

    And then we have Jonathan Martin…..

    Enough said.

  5. Not a fan of Dallas or Dez, but that is beyond stupid. Absolutely stupid. I’m sure a lawyer could argue it borders on extortion. But regardless, crap like that should not happen to anyone. There are a lot of other ways to break in a rookie than robbing him blind of $$$$. Whatever happened to carrying vets’ pads, bringing them water all during camp etc. I know I would not be able to look past that for years.

  6. That’s insanity. You could literally feed over 3,600 starving children in a third world country for a MONTH – for the cost of that ridiculous display of hedonistic selfish indulgence.

    That is not exactly the way to build camaraderie, loyalty, commitment to team. It’s low character – and low character shows up on Sunday afternoons in the fall.

  7. Didn’t he get that much cash and “goad” stolen from his car once? Or was it just stolen from his home? I also think he bought more than that before he was even drafted, so don’t play the victim card like you’re used to doing.

  8. Why don’t you just have his mommy call them all. Awful yes, he’s a grown man, he could have said no but he didn’t. I think the bigger problem here is that nobody should ever step foot in a restaurant that you could even manage to buy $55K worth of food.

  9. you shouldve stepped up to those veterans and say ”pay your own tab”. they all have plenty of money. they want to spend like degenerate gamblers, thats on them. they may hate me at first, might get in a few fights, but in the end i’ll earn my respect playing bigtime football.

  10. If Dez paid out rookie hazing dues like that $55k and then as a veteran player said that the practice was no longer tolerated, as a person he just went up a notch in my mind.

  11. This is the 1st common sense quote I’ve read from Bryant. Maybe he’s growing up ? There’s hope !

  12. A Wall Street deal closing dinner laughs at Dez Bryant’s measly $55,000 dinner check.

  13. Dez is lucky he didn’t have Richie Incognito on his team that year it would have been dinner, a trip to Vegas, and god knows what else.

    If we are going to call this professional sports, maybe it’s time the league and NFLPA set some rules for how players treat other players.

  14. Much though I want to rag on the Cowboys, this is a common culture throughout the league. They ought to put penalties in place for stuff like that. Ridiculous.

  15. That’s insanity. You could literally feed over 3,600 starving children in a third world country for a MONTH – for the cost of that ridiculous display of hedonistic selfish indulgence.

    That is not exactly the way to build camaraderie, loyalty, commitment to team. It’s low character – and low character shows up on Sunday afternoons in the fall.

  16. It’s not just football where that stuff happens. In all walks of life the new guy has to “pay his dues”. I’ve never been saddled with a 55k dinner bill but I’ve been hit with the working mans equivalent on multiple occasions. Paying for Starbucks for the senior salesmen, buying lunch for the office, etc. Was I happy about it? No. Was it a fairly big part of progressing my career? You bet it was, and it had a lot to do with going from being an entry level peon to being responsible for running a multimillion dollar operation.

  17. Where is Commissioner Goodell on these extravagant exploitation matters? Does this constitute a form of bullying?
    Roger seems to enjoy being photographed hugging every rookie on Draft Day, but let’s see if he touches this subject?

  18. It’s like in the Sopranos when Chris was required to pay the tab and Pauly was buying Christal for some old skanks at a near by table. That did work out well when he left a small tip.

  19. Pack mentality that is also what the US Govt’ is very good at globally. Single one out and attack. In the name of acceptance of course.

  20. I’m fine with a little low-level rookie hazing. If his teammates had made him get donuts for the team a couple of times or something like that, I’d say that’s fine. But making this guy spend $55 grand on a team dinner? That’s just abusive.

  21. Did my hot tub turn in to a time machine?

    There isn’t a single thing in this article that wasn’t reported when it happened, including Bryant’s response and feelings about it.

    So why are we talking about this again?

  22. To be popped with a dinner check of $5,500…ok. But a $55,000 check?!?

    Is Dez exaggerating? Is his recall accurate? $55,000??? That’s gotta stop! Does that include the tip?

  23. As far as the dinner tab and the rest of the rookie hazing it just shows unfortunately how a lot of these guys never grow up and a lot of those guys “WILL NEVER” grow up-they should be doing anything from studying their playbook to working out or studying film etc.

  24. He got $8.4 million guaranteed. So the $55k was less than 1% of the money he made before he played a down. If it didn’t bother him, why is he whining about it now? Maybe because he is an infantile jerk who thinks the whole world revolves around him.

  25. I seem to remember Dez refusing to carry the vets bags as a rookie. Perhaps that rubbed the vets the wrong way so they got him back with a huge bill. I mean I’m not hearing the same complaints from Cowboys rookies who were making a lot less than Dez.

  26. Dez got 2.5 million as a signing bonus and his rookie salary was about 300k. Going off of 2.8 million, a $55,000 tab would be almost 2% of his salary, or equal to a guy who earns $60,000 springing $1200 for dinner. That’s pretty ridiculous, IMO. Dez was a high #1 pick. Other rookies, while I am sure aren’t expected to fork out this much, could have a hard time dealing with something like this.

  27. Actually doesn’t seem that high compared to some of the other stories where Vets were ordering bottles of Dom Perignon & Cristal to go.

  28. This is really a commentary on America’s arrogance. To throw away what is more than average yearly earnings of the people of the country you live in is disgusting. The fact the people in this country think that is an ok thing to do makes me want to move to Canada. 55 grand on one dinner. F you

  29. “Spending $55,000 on one dinner is, frankly, stupid. Dinners like that are a reason many players go broke despite making millions of dollars”

    Not sure if you don’t understand how the hazing process works, or if you don’t understand how much players make. Either way, even if you don’t like something it doesn’t give you the right to incorrectly present it.

    As for the meal, isn’t there a player’s union? Wow, there is. And they should deal with this. Or isn’t the well being of their members part of their deal?

    Lastly, my uncle was in the NFL. And he said that he had to pay for a couple of meals for people. But each time players came up to him afterwards and payed him back a good bit of the bill. Also, he said that the whole point of it was originally to force the incoming players to go eat with some of the players they were learning from, or would be possibly taking their jobs. What is described there in Dallas is a team who has lost the basis for it period. Once again . . . there is a players union who should take care of it.

  30. Dez’s contract was 11 million for 5 years…

    After he paid for that dinner he still made 10.94 million!

    Are we suppose to feel sorry for him?

  31. He should be more pissed at an NFL exec. asking him if his moms a hooker…

  32. Peer pressure is tough, but it’s time to stand up and stop giving in to asinine rookie hazing treatment like this. It could all come to a screeching halt if the NFLPA, NFL, owners and coaches would jointly demand an end to rookie hazing–and then fine people who participate in it. We could start with a $55,000 fine, which should just about cover that dinner tab.

  33. Right of passage folks. Buying dinner for teammates is harmless. This is exactly why our youth is weak and feeble and expects to get everything without having to work for it.

  34. Wait…$55,000???
    there is only 52 men on the roster that means that every player averaged about $1,000.00 a meal?????
    Was Wolfgang Puck or Gordon Ramsey cooking them this dinner?
    Jerry Jones should be ashamed of himself for allowing that to happen and should reimburse Mr. Bryant, for oh i’d say about $50,000!!!!
    It’s no wonder that the majority of these millionaire players end up filing for bankruptcy less than 5 years after retiring from the NFL….or NBA or MLB or NHL for that matter…… Lifestyle outliving their income..

  35. Nothing wrong with alittle hazing and picking up a fat dinner tab.. 55k was prob because he was alittle resistant of the hazing process and they were going out of their way to be aholes.. But a 10-20k tab for your brother coming into some real money is okay wit me provided he is a first round star pick.. Dont break the league minimum guy tho

  36. I like how the 1st part of the story is entirely missing. Dez refused to carry Miles Austin’s pads and helmet, stating he was above that. The $55k dinner was just payback from the vets. If Dez had known his place as a rookie, he would have gotten away with a much cheaper dinner.

  37. $55,000 for a dinner? I don’t care how many people you are paying for, $55,000 dollars is too f’ing expensive for someone to pay. Where the hell did they eat at?

  38. I think any form of hazing is stupid…That being said, Dez Bryant should have paid his own tab and left a nice tip,and then carried the vet’s pads.
    Didn’t he refuse to do that? If he was going to pick one thing to refuse,it should have been the dinner tab. The NFL and all the other leagues should ban hazing. This isn’t high school.

  39. Dez should have put an expired credit card on the table, and told his teammates to
    “take care of this while I go to the bathroom”, and slip out the door.

  40. I am by no means a Cowboys fan (HTTR), but you guys saying this is reflective of the ‘Boys are way out of line as it happens on all 32 squads and is stupid. This isn’t a Cowboys issue, this is a professional sports issue. I agree hazing is going to happen, but I’d much rather see carrying pads, doing laundry, getting food in the dining hall, driving the vets around vs. something that costs a significant amount of money. This happens to rookies who aren’t making millions too, so don’t talk about a guy who can afford it. There are rooks making the $400k minimum who take home about 30% after taxes, agents fees, NFLPA fees, mandatory team publicist fees, etc who are also forced to pay for $55k dinners. If you take home $120k/yr and have to drop $55k on a dinner you better believe that has an impact in a line of work without guaranteed contracts.

  41. That is obscene. Take them to dinner and then make the rookie give money to a local charity. Demonstrate you are a quality team by showing up for the community instead of indulging in gluttony.

  42. Just another example (on a grander scale) of how very few people follow the golden rule anymore. I wouldn’t have an issue having a rookie paying for my meal, but I wouldn’t go overboard with it, and would later pay him back whatever portion, if any, that was excessive.

  43. That was before the new deal regulating rookie contracts. Most people forget how much Sam Bradford was signed for. Dez was probably signed for far more than most of the veteran players.

  44. And dez Bryant does it to rookies every year. Lead by example. Which is why Bryant isn’t and will never be a leader. He is a selfish player and teammate

  45. Usually rookies who have to pick up the tabs for these dinners were hold-outs and are almost always 1st round picks who are getting paid a ton of money despite not proving ANYTHING on the field.

    Other teams do this too, LaDanian Tomlinson had to pay (so did Quintin Jammer), but they didn’t cry about it years later…Dez is just a big baby.

  46. The new CBA does not make rookies rich men. Many rookies have quietly complained that the ‘take the vets to dinner’ junkets are hard on their rookie wallet. Since the vets are not the ones paying, they pick the Prime-One type restaurants and Crystal bottles. This is a form of extortion based on some rite of passage and hopefully the NFL and NFLPA will address the abusive nature of veterans towards rookies. This nonsense is beyond carrying pads, buying donuts, or singing school songs.

  47. A move like that speaks volumes about a person’s character. Just a trashy, cowardly move. Given the scenario, what can a rookie even say?
    It is bullying while standing behind the entire group, instead of being accountable to the bullied individual.
    It would be interesting to see which players went that route of taking advantage and pulling that money out of the rookies’ pockets and which ones were reasonable or chose not to participate.

  48. You know I will point out two things. 1st). This is being and has been going on for along time in the nfl. But it is time for the veterans to go in and say we will match dollar for dollar on the ticket for charity. 2nd) The Bankers spent 450, ooo.00$ for lunch and nobody bitched that the much.

  49. I read a story a few years ago about the vets sticking a rookie with a 10K dinner tab but the kid didn’t even make the team. That’s messed up.

  50. “Right of passage folks. Buying dinner for teammates is harmless. This is exactly why our youth is weak and feeble and expects to get everything without having to work for it.”

    I disagree. Having to bring fresh baked brownies for the whole team, having to carry lunch trays for the veterans, toting their gear around at practices, these actions–rookies being subservient to veteran players–these actions are the ways through the rite of passage.

    Being hit with massive outlays of cash at a hedonistic, rookie-abuse dinner is way over the top. Weak and feeble? For not letting someone just roll over you? I don’t think so.

  51. He gets annual workout bonuses of 250k, the guys were jerks but he still could afford that one time expense. the other money problems he had blowing his money like water, were his own fault. typical cowboys behavior.

  52. The Dallas vets did that to Dez because he was he was being anally retentive and egotistical.

    If you’ll recall, several retired old heads (to include Deon Sanders) sat him down and told him to get his act together! . . .

  53. This is the same GOOF who REFUSED to carry a vet’s bags after practice AND was ARRESTED for smacking his own momma!

    He got dealt the way he did because of the bag refusal, this was the vets teaching him a lesson and it humbled him!

    I’ll agree that spending like that is not only foolish, but it’s also crippling when you’re starting out. But he did this to himself with his antics.
    Plus, it’s a part of the team’s culture; they’re jerks now, past and as long as Jerry owns the team, they’ll be that way for the foreseeable future!

  54. Well he should have known that this kind of thing would happen. First thing he should of done was got in touch with the waiter in charge and set a limit and if the vets didn’t like it tough cookies. Its a old trick vets. play on rookies and yet they seem to fall for it over and over. When I got a promotion at work the other guys said I had to by lunch for the shop. They started talking about this restaurant that I knew was high end. I told them I had them cater in lunch for us to their surprise it was Dominos Pizza lol and they had to buy their own sodas or drink water. I got called I tight wad but I don’t give a rats butt there was no way these fools were going to get me for a $400 to $500 lunch.

  55. Also someone was saying that the $55,000 bill could feed a bunch of hungry kids in a 3rd world country Let me ask you this. What about the kids going hungry in this country? (USA) don’t they deserved to be fed first? We need to quit worrying about the problems in other countries and start looking at the ones we have right here. War vets being homeless, kids going hungry, sick kids not getting good medical attention, schools needing more teachers, books, learning materials. Charity begins at home… And I don’t know what he is worried about he will right it off on his taxes as a business expense anyway I am sure.

  56. Shove it in all Fans faces around the world. What a disgrace to the HUNGRY CHILDREN IN AMERICA. THIS AMOUNT OF MONEY COULD HAVE FED HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS . So WHATEVER.

  57. You want me to pay for a vet’s dinner? Okay guys, Mickey D’s or White Castle, my treat.

  58. I totally understand having the rookie take out the vets in the position group for dinner. Realistically it should run like what 2000-3000 for an extravagant dinner for 8ish guys. 55K is absurd. Keep it within reason. 2-3k is easy for any of these rookies, but 55k is ridonkulous!


  60. Dick Vermeil wasn’t allowed to give one of his players a bottle of wine because of salary cap implications. Why is this allowed?

  61. Things were different back then. It was a big deal when Bryant refused to carry Roy Williams’ pads, he was viewed as some kind of a rebel. I wonder if this dinner was before or after incident.

  62. ” rookie hazing ” is an absolute joke. I would never cooperate in such thing. These are grown men here not children,

    I understand you “frat boys” disagree. Just my opinion it’s just flat out childish and degrading.

  63. I remember when Jeremy Shockey refused to take part in the hazing stuff when he showed up to camp as a rookie. When told he had to sing for his supper, he knocked Brandon Short’s a$s to the ground.

    Stood up for himself like a man. That stands as the only great and memorable thing Shockey did, however.

  64. $55,000 dinner tab. That’s more than I made when I deployed to Afghanistan. As an infantry soldier, I understand it’s not about money, but that’s still insanely sad in my opinion.

  65. Convenient that he leaves out the fact that the only reason they ran up the bill is because Dez whined and cried about having to carry a veteran’s pads.

    Also he cried about it when it happened too so why is he crying all over again?

    Is his next contract bonus based on tears or something?

  66. That was your Ex Philly boy that claimed all that, Desean Jackson..
    By the way, Dez never whined or cried about carrying a vets pads. He simply refused to do it. And where is Roy Williams now? I’m a fan and I wouldn’t carry Roy Williams pads.

  67. Jun 1, 2014 5:19 PM
    I hear Dez comes from a rough childhood. This guy has come a long way and he behaves better than a lot of guys in the NFL, keep it up Dez.

    Report comment

    Brother that’s what makes all these people mad. They pray at night for Dez to screw up. It eats their souls up that he is just becoming a better person and monster player. They could handle him doing one of those things, but not both.

  68. Didn’t Dez refuse to carry a vet receivers pads at practice his first year? Wonder if the huge bill was payback for that.

  69. I agree completely with Dez Bryant, which is hard to do. When I read about that 55K dinner tab in back in 2010, it told me (and many others) the veterans on the cowboys were childish, immature and not ready to win the NFL championship or a Superbowl. The second issue is watching these grown children waste their monies on get rich quick schemes, vanity business opportunities (can you spell “Restaurants”) and homes to large to sustain over the long haul and cars too rich for their bank accounts. I had one such client (I am a Los Angeles Real Estate Broker) who told me about his car “it is leased @ $2300.00 a month”. When I suggested for him to buy an investment property for long term income and either buy a tract home or get a rental, he laughed at me. I read recently the home some hot blond sold him has been sold for less than he paid for it in 2011.

  70. Good article, and I agree wholeheartedly.

    This is a real issue unlike the stupid redskins thing.

  71. Roy Williams invited the defensive players also. He may have been punishing Dez for not carrying his shoulder pads during practice. The restaurant was Pappa Bros where the Porterhouse runs $99.95.
    These Boys are big. Figure multiple entrees, enough top shelf liquor to inebriate huge NFL’rs, and $55,000 seems like an easy number to reach.

  72. I remember after he made a big fuss about not carrying pads some of the vets even said they were going to order extra lobster, etc and make him pay the bill. He still chose to go to the dinner knowing what the outcome would be. And stop toting the “this is why NFL players go broke” BS. It’s not like they made him do this every week of his rookie season. If a $55k dinner makes you blow through tens of millions of dollars afterwards, I think there’s a deeper issue.

  73. That explains why he refused to carry one of the veterans shoulder pads into the locker room… He felt he already PAID his dues of a $55,000.00 due… He doesn’t owe them a damn thing anymore after he paid for that!

  74. When I hear of the name Dez Bryant, I think of an above average WR who also at the same time is a sore loser and throws temper tantrums on the sidelines. His reputation on the sidelines precedes his talents. I always get that image of him walking out on his team before the game was over when the Packers overcame a mile long point deficit in a second QTR comeback to defeat his team. Who walks out on their own team?? Only him! Grow up, boy…

  75. He should have refused to pay the ridiculous dinner bill — just like when he refused to carry Roy Williams’ helmet and shoulder pads after a team practice!

  76. I don’t get Dez! You refused to carry the pads but paid a $55K dinner tab! Really!!!

    Somebody…anybody…please explain????

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