Three years ago, wide receiver Dez Bryant found himself in the headlines for being forced to pick up his teammates’ $54,869 dinner bill as part of being a high-priced rookie with the Dallas Cowboys.
Now, with the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin scandal putting hazing and bullying at the forefront of debates about pro sports culture, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones admitted that sometimes these things were “overdone.”
“I’ve had to ask a couple of times, a couple of places out here to rethink, let’s say a liquor bill, when [players have] taken a rookie out and hung him with a huge, huge bill for liquor, where they’ve exorbitantly ordered,” Jones said on his weekly radio show on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas (transcript via the Dallas Morning News) . “I might tell you that one of the finest businesses in this town, when they had ordered and charged one of our rookies a lot of money, they just absolutely took it off the bill and gave it to him.
“It was Pappas [Bros.] Steakhouse, to give you an idea. That’s having compassion. It was overdone. They just decided, ‘Hey, we’ll make our contribution to the do-right rule, here.’”
Players were ordering the most expensive items on the menu and taking them to go. At the time of the September 2010 dinner, Bryant’s adviser, David Wells, told ESPN, that “they got the young fella. What could he say? He had to pay it unless he wanted to wash dishes for a month.”
Bryant at the time tweeted (via the Morning News): “I’m here eating drinking with my dogs I go to war with every Sunday doing it big at pappas steakhouse!!!!” Miles Austin tweeted: “Food is crazy here!!!” And, from Jesse Holley: “Woke up this morning and scramble me some cheese eggs to go w/ my left over 20 oz Kobe steak from last night. Mmmmmmm!”
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“There are things in society that are certainly moving over into sports, certainly professional sports, NFL football. There’s things that society has asked everyone to recognize,” Jones said Tuesday. “Having said that, I’ve always thought that any time people welcome a new player with the proper type of sensitivity, but yet with the spirit of camaraderie and the spirit of joining the crowd — and you got to pay to join the crowd — I’ve always thought that had its place.
“On the other hand, any time you’re dealing with that, you get involved in different degrees of judgment and it can be overdone. That’s been going on since the beginning of time. We certainly would like to think that we’re on top of those issues.”
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