The pre-draft word on Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant was that he was difficult, immature and potentially cancerous for a team's lockerroom.
It's not even August and Bryant is already proving the doubters right.
In a move sure to produce the words, "glad we didn't draft him" inside a few NFL executive suites, Bryant refused to carry teammate Roy Williams' shoulder pads off the field after practice.
It was only the third day of practice and the Dallas Cowboys already have problems.
The longstanding (and extremely minor) ritual calls for rookies to serve as quasi-valets or equipment managers -- before the season starts -- so they can earn the trust and respect of their veteran teammates.
"I'm not doing it," Bryant said about the football rite of passage. "I feel like I was drafted to play football, not carry another player's pads... 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]."
I'm the first to condemn any type of violence, sexual harassment or injury when it comes to hazing. All that nonsense is stupid and pointless. But some level of team bonding is productive. New players have to "symbolically" earn their spot. Then, in due time, those players will do the same to the younger generation.
Bryant has to know this. Nobody is questioning his manhood by asking him to help carry equipment off the field. Nobody sees him as a servant. Instead, they're questioning his ability to put the team before himself. This is where maturity comes into play. You have to grasp the big picture of such a silly little exercise, rather than interpret it as an insult.
Hey Dez, congratulations on failing your first test in Dallas. Actually, this was more like a pop quiz. What should we expect when your team loses a tough game or Tony Romo doesn't throw to you?