Among those closely watching the NCAA investigation of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel is Dez Bryant.
The Dallas Cowboys wide receiver had to sit out the final 10 games of his college career because the NCAA found that he lied about a lunch with Deion Sanders — a lunch that violated no rules. Manziel is under investigation for allegedly being paid for signing autographs and Bryant says he’ll be steamed if the NCAA applies a different standard to Manziel.
“Hell, yeah, I’ll be mad. I’ll be mad,” Bryant told ESPN Dallas. “But I don’t want him to get suspended. I would be mad more at the NCAA for how they do things.
“I just feel like it’s not fair. This is something I have no problem talking about because I feel like somebody needs to say something to them and let it be known how they treat people is not right.”
Bryant admitted that he lied about meeting with Neon Deion while he was playing at Oklahoma State but added (via the Star-Telegram) “I came back. I told the truth and they suspended me indefinitely. The way the guy was talking to me was like I did something wrong. I didn’t know it was okay for me to go to someone’s house.”
Bryant thinks Manziel is in a tougher spot than he was, but Manziel has the advantage of being the reigning Heisman Trophy winner.
“I don’t think my situation was as [bad] as his,” Bryant said. “Johnny Manziel is a great football player. I really hope him the best. I hope he doesn’t get suspended. I pray that he don’t get suspended, because I love watching him. But as far as the NCAA, I just think they do a lot of stuff unfair.”
As an example, Bryant noted that another player, former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor, received a delayed five-game suspension for accepting improper benefits but was allowed to play in the Sugar Bowl. He entered the NFL supplemental draft rather than serve his NCAA suspension.
“All I did was lie about going over to somebody’s house and I got my season taken away from me,” Bryant said. “Still to this day, I think about it. It bothers me. I can’t get it back. No matter how much money I make in this league … that really meant something to me.
“I just think the NCAA, they don’t do a good enough job. I just honestly feel like it’s about money and TV ratings.”