Rookies get hazed. Everybody has seen it. I have witnessed some Redskins rookies get tied to the field goal post. Blake Griffin, the first overall pick of the NBA draft, brought donuts to his teammates before practice. That's just the way it is.
But I guess that doesn't work for rookie receiver Dez Bryant.
(If by now you're already thinking it's stupid to blow this story out of proportion, well you might as well stop reading because that is what I intend to do.)
It didn't take long for controversy to begin at Dallas' training camp, no matter how minor it may be. After the Sunday morning practice, Roy Williams gave his pads to Bryant for him to carry back to the locker room. Bryant refused to participate in the minor hazing and didn't carry the pads.
"I just feel like I'm here to play football," said the former Oklahoma State Cowboy. "I'm here to try to help win a championship, not carry someone's pads. I'm saying that out of no disrespect to anyone."
Well that must be music to the rest of the Cowboys' ears. So I guess the rest of the players aren't there to help win a title? Hmm... interesting.
Anyway, Williams took the reasonable point of view saying every rookie had to participate. "I had to go through it," Williams said. "No matter if you're a No. 1 pick or the 7,000th pick, you've still got to do something when you're a rookie."
Some think if anyone other than Williams had given Bryant their pads, he would have kept his mouth shut and picked them up. I don't buy that one bit. If you're a Dallas fan and you're screaming at Williams about this, stop it.
Yes, Williams has been nothing but mediocre (and worse) for the Cowboys. Yes, the trade for Williams was horrible and hasn't worked out at all. But he's still a seven-year veteran. He was still selected seventh overall in the 2004 draft. If you're angry with the trade, blame Jerry Jones for giving up all of those draft picks because that transaction was a bad move before Williams played a down in a Dallas uniform. Production really doesn't mean much in this situation anyways, unless one of the kickers told Bryant to carry their pads (That would be hilarious).
Bryant hasn't played in a single game yet. Remember? Because he's a rookie! That is something he is going to have to understand soon.
"I don't believe in that at all," Bryant said later about rookie hazing. "We have a goal here. It's not about playing games. It's all about just trying to do the right thing and achieve our goal."
Well, the right thing to do would have been to just pick up the pads and go with it. Is it really that hard? Is it really that humiliating, especially when it's a widely known fact that every player in the league goes through the same thing as a rookie?
By the way, Bryant is going to be a star. He is an extremely talented athlete and will make the Dallas offense so much better. But he's still a rookie and rookies go through hazing. He's not a star yet. He needs to actually play a game before anyone can say he's a star. In the meantime, pick up the damn pads. - Michael Klopman
Michael, a Penn State Graduate writes for Xtra Point Football, Around the Horn Baseball, and works on the sports page at the Huffington Post.