By Stephen D. Riley, Special to AFRO
Former Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant can’t find a job and that’s crazy. The former star wideout of America’s Team was once one of the top big play threats in the NFL. Now, he’s on the outside looking in on the league, while petitioning teams for a second chance. Bryant reportedly had a deal locked and loaded with the Baltimore Ravens back in April but wanted to test the market. A solid decision just two years ago, Bryant’s idea backfired on him in the worst way and could start the year benched.
Bryant can still play, can still score touchdowns and could probably still attract an audience; and that’s part of the problem of why he’s still unemployed. Constantly depicted storming up the sidelines pissed off, blasting at coaches and teammates who would listen, Bryant went from star talent to angry Black man a few years ago and hasn’t recovered. His reputation for spewing expletives in the direction of the camera never looked good to White America and inside a league ran predominately by White men, it’s not really surprising that the idea of Bryant going catchless in 2018 is pretty reasonable.
The same receiver that was juking defenders out, one-handing passes and beating double teams just a few seasons ago is now obsolete. His skills haven’t declined to the point where he should be jobless a week before the new season starts at soon-to-be 30-years-old. He’s not a spring chicken anymore but he’s not outdated either. What else could it be? Being on America’s Team puts you directly in front of the camera both on and off the field. While Bryant’s kept a mostly clean record off the field, being in between the lines playing the angry Black man role will always put you in White America’s doghouse.
People roll their eyes, shake their heads and grit their teeth when they see you storming around, pressing your frustration out into the world. Add a dark face to the frustration and you get Angry Black Man Syndrome. Bryant could probably still walk onto a field right now and be one of the top guys at his position but similar to Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid, when you express frustration you get labeled and blackballed. Speak out and there’s consequences. Talent normally wins out but in today’s climate, stay silent if you want the money and Bryant, Kaepernick and Reid are seeing that first hand but yet nobody’s doing anything about it.
This article originally appeared in the AFRO.