Dez Bryant is suspicious of the NCAA, and for good reason.
Everyone should be suspicious of the NCAA, whose inconsistent rulings and hypocrisy are maddening, but Bryant has a personal reason. A legal dinner at Deion Sanders' house turned into Bryant being suspended for most of the 2009 season. The NCAA suspended Bryant for not disclosing what happened when he met Sanders.
So now Bryant, a star receiver with the Dallas Cowboys, is closely watching what happens with the Johnny Manziel autograph scandal.
Manziel, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner, is being investigated for possibly signing thousands of autographs for money. That would be a far worse violation than a meal with a former NFL star, which is why Bryant is already getting a bit agitated. Not because he has an issue with Manziel – Bryant made it very clear he has no problem at all with the Texas A&M quarterback – but he has a problem with the NCAA if it doesn't punish him after what it did to him.
"Hell yeah, I’ll be mad," Bryant said, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "I will be mad. But I don’t want him to get suspended. I will be mad more at the NCAA on 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 him and let it be known how they treat people is not right."
That's an understandable reaction, given what Bryant went through.
Bryant admits his wrongdoing back when he was at Oklahoma State. He told the Star-Telegram he lied to the NCAA because the investigator frightened him into believing he did something wrong when he met Sanders. He then told the truth but the suspension was never lifted.
And again, this isn't about Manziel in Bryant's mind. In fact, he thinks that Manziel should be allowed to sell his autograph.
"He should be able to sign as many autographs and make as much money as he wants, because it’s his name," Bryant said to the Star-Telegram. "I feel like he’s the one who created it. He should be able to do whatever he feels as long as it’s legal and I don’t think there’s anything illegal about signing a picture of yourself and making money off himself. Shoot, the NCAA is making money off of it when they’re selling those No. 2 shirts. Why can’t he make a little bit of money off of it?"
Bryant obviously doesn't know the core philosophy of the NCAA and college sports, which is that everyone shall make money off college athletes except the college athletes themselves. And once that rule is met, the next rule is to do whatever you can to make even more money off them. More realignment, anyone?
Bryant is an unlikely voice of reason in battling the vile and exploitative business of college sports, but it makes sense. He's one of the best examples of the NCAA's haphazard way of enforcing its archaic rules.
"I don’t want anything to happen to Manziel, I promise," Bryant said, according to the Star-Telegram. "I don’t want anything. I just want them to know what they’re doing is not right. That’s all they need to know and they need to understand that. Seriously. They really do."