There seems to be some uncertainty as to whether Dez Bryant had legal representation when he was questioned by NCAA about his relationship with Deion Sanders, meetings with the Hall of Famer that ultimately led to the Oklahoma State receiver being suspended until September of 2010.
In particular, Bryant claims that he was ill-equipped to handle the three rounds of questioning he faced from NCAA officials. It was during those conversations with investigators that Bryant lied about a meeting with Sanders. It was also those lies that led to what some believe was a punishment that doesn’t fit the crime.
While Bryant may feel like he was unprepared, the NCAA is defending itself and its actions during the course of the Bryant probe.
According to ESPN.com, an NCAA spokesperson said that Bryant had an attorney present during all three of the meetings.
“There have been some reported misrepresentations of the NCAA interview process by Mr. Bryant and the media,” spokesperson Stacey Osburn wrote. “According to established NCAA procedures, student-athletes and coaches are reminded verbally and in the documentation of their obligation to be truthful. Student-athletes and any other involved individuals may also have representation present with them throughout the interview process.
“Mr. Bryant did have an attorney present during all three interviews with the NCAA. In fact, at one point during his first interview he was allowed to step outside with his attorney to converse and was then reminded again of his obligation to be truthful when he came back on the record.”
[Writer’s note: this is where I would normally throw in a line like “Who the hell was his attorney, Mike Florio?”, but that would be mean and uncalled for, so I’ll refrain.]
Osburn also wrote that Bryant wasn’t singled out because he’s a high-profile player, saying “[n]ot only does this mean that gifted athletes are not granted exceptions based on their ability, but they are also not punished any harder than other student-athletes to ‘set an example.”
That’s all well and good, but it doesn’t change the fact that the punishment was excessively heavy-handed and, to be honest, asinine.
Yes, Bryant was in the wrong. He shouldn’t have lied. There’s no gray area there.
However, you mean to tell me what Bryant did — which will ultimately result in a ten-game suspension counting a bowl — is worse than LeGarrette Blount punching an opposing player, then going bats–t crazy on a teammate, one of his coaches, fans and security personnel?
A lie about an incident that wasn’t even a NCAA violation and ten games is a greater transgression than a psychotic episode on full public display and a suspension that will likely fall below ten games?
Really? That’s what we’re being conned into buying?
Something stinks to high hell here, and it’s not Bryant “freaking out” and lying. No, the only thing that reeks is the arbitrary and suspect nature of an organization supposedly charged with promoting fairness and the development of student-athletes.
What a crock.