On the night before the first round of the NFL draft late last month, Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant had already done everything he could to impress NFL coaches in hopes of being selected in the following days. He had already participated in the NFL combine, showing off his physical talents on the field. He was ready and had high hopes of making big bucks for a pro team.
That night, according to Yahoo Sports’ Michael Silver, he was asked to answer more questions from Miami Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland. Of course, Bryant, eager to please, was going to answer any questions the Dolphins GM still had. What Bryant didn’t expect was the type of questions he would face, like if his mother, Angela was a prostitute. Yes, apparently Ireland did ask that question.
“No, my mom is not a prostitute,” Bryant answered, according to Yahoo Sports. “I got mad – really mad – but I didn’t show it.”
Initially, Ireland declined to comment on the question but later sent out an apology to Bryant for the question. Everyone who heard about Ireland’s question agreed that he was lucky to still have a straight nose and all his teeth still in his mouth. For many guys, this question would have been grounds for a severe ass-kicking, even if it came at losing a multi-million dollar deal.
Out of the blue, with no context, this question would seem very, very out of place prior to the NFL Draft. But, as we learn more about his mother and Bryant’s past, the question may not have been so out of place, after all. According to ESPN.com, Bryant’s mom was convicted for selling crack in 1997 and served 18 months. More recently, ESPN.com reports that she was arrested in April 2009 for selling crack to police informants and was sentenced to 10 years of probation.
What do any of these drug charges have to do prostitution? Well, SI.com reported that Ireland’s prostitution question was a follow-up to Bryant’s reported admission earlier that his father was a pimp and his mother worked for his father. If that’s true, then, unless she was his bookkeeper or something like that, the question doesn’t seem as far off-base.
I realize questions about moms, especially questions in the realm of Ireland’s, can infuriate people into losing control and beating the crap out of somebody. I get that. What I also get is that if a team is looking to spend millions of dollars on a college athlete with some tough family history, they need to know what baggage comes with the product. It’s simple business, really. Millions of dollars are at stake here and, for lack of a better term, they need to know if they’re buying damaged goods. Seems reasonable to me.
There has been so much made of the substance of the question over the past few weeks, nobody has seemed to answer the real question of what happened in the days following the draft. Yes, Bryant was selected 24th overall by the Dallas Cowboys, but that’s not what I am talking about.
I am not sure why Bryant went to Silver and outed the controversial question on the web pages of Yahoo Sports. Bryant’s answer to Ireland’s question was perfect. No, she is not a prostitute. Let’s move on. Instead, he answered it, and then went tattling to the media, which was the dumbest thing Bryant could have done.
Now SI.com, ESPN.com and, I am sure, TMZ.com and every other sports gossip media outfit is searching police records and really getting into the nitty-gritty of the Bryant family history. Honestly, it’s Bryant’s fault his mother is all over the national media. If he would have just answered the question like a big boy at a big boy business meeting and left it at that, you probably wouldn’t be reading this column right now.
And it’s not that I want to trash Bryant here. I truly hope the kid does well in the NFL, and I’m glad he was finally selected – as he should have been.
He could have, though, saved his mother's embarrassment by simply keeping his mouth shut.