Robert Klemko, who was front and center in the Dez Bryant blow-up last Thursday, dropped by CBS Sports Radio to discuss numerous NFL topics, including Peyton Manning’s poor play this past weekend.
But ultimately, the conversation shifted to Bryant, the poster child of NFL petulance.
“I don’t want to dwell on it,” the Sports Illustrated MMQB NFL writer said on Tiki and Tierney. “I went into it a bunch last week and now it’s a new week. But basically, Dez Bryant was upset with a media member there for writing a column that led with (calling) him petulant, and he blew up on that guy. And then he accused the writer of calling teammate Devin Street the N-word – something nobody else in the room heard – and then blew up on the rest of the media and challenged us to report that and cussed at us.”
Klemko tweeted that Bryant was screaming at reporters – a tweet that Bryant read less than a minute after it was posted.
“Then he went into it with me,” Klemko said. “Two things kind of jumped out at me. It’s bizarre to me that Dez Bryant, a person of his talent, cares that much about what people are writing and what people are saying. And the other thing is the kind of malaise in that locker room. It wasn’t like everyone was jumping to Dez Bryant’s defense. Some people were laughing. Some players were like, ‘I wish I could snapchat this.’”
The Cowboys went on to lose their seventh straight game on Sunday, a 10-6 loss to Tampa Bay. Dallas has now been held without a touchdown in two of its last three games and is in the midst of its longest losing streak since 1989.
Tiki and Tierney feel that Bryant, who finished with a quiet five catches for 45 yards, has a negative influence on the Cowboys’ locker room and that his antics carry over to the field.
“Yeah, with Dez, he’s always gig to be up and down. He’s always going to be hot and cold,” Klemko said. “The Cowboys have a number of guys like that on that roster. They don’t have an environment that is insulated the way a lot of teams do, the way the successful teams do, to where the outside factors don’t affect them as much. So once you do lose a Tony Romo, it sends things spiraling out of control. Tony’s doing everything he can to kind of shore up that locker room. He’s really active in terms of game-planning, on the sideline, behind the scenes there – he’s still seen as much as he always was. But I think as you know, it’s real hard to be a part of everything in the day-to-day operations of the team if you’re ultimately not playing.”
Or if you’re not ultimately coaching. Yes, Jason Garrett is the head coach of the Cowboys, but it seems that he has little say or influence on what the organization does or doesn’t do. In fact, Brandon Tierney feels that few coaches in the NFL would allow this kind of nonsense to go on as long as Garrett has.
“I think you’re right,” Klemko said. “I think you start to make your coach look like a lame-duck coach when he’s the only one reprimanding or publicly condemning the things that guys like Greg Hardy are saying and you’re in philosophical disagreements apparently about his place on the roster. That’s a big point of contention. Jason Garrett obviously has no say. It’s all Jerry Jones’ call, whether it’s Greg Hardy or Dez Bryant’s behavior. He’s essentially coach, assistant head coach, GM, owner – he’s everything there. He’s the only owner with this much of an active role in the team’s day-to-day operations. I think people thought Jason Garrett would be up for it because he was on the Cowboys during all those great years in the ’90s where you had the bizarre locker-room culture with guys that weren’t necessarily on the up-and-up but they came together on Sundays.”