A day after walking off the field with 1:21 left in what would be a crushing 37-36 defeat to Green Bay Sunday and refusing to speak to the media afterward, Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant had a lot to say.
“First and foremost, let me start by saying that was not the right thing to do was to walk back in [the locker room],” Bryant said to a throng of reporters surrounding his locker. “I wasn’t looking at it that way, how people are portraying it, how I looked, which I clearly understand. Everybody in this locker room, they understand, they understood my frustration, losing like that, that’s hard. I know I’m a very emotional player. I’ve always been that way. I got to do a better job of controlling my emotions. I feel like there was no way I could have sat there and watched them knee the ball and shake any one of those players’ hands. Just because of the fashion of how we lost. And it was heartbreaking. It had nothing to do with my teammates. Nothing. Because I honestly felt like we played great, we just didn’t finish.”
Coach Jason Garrett met with Bryant, but the team did not fine him.
“He understood me, but at the same time, basically like what y’all said, it’s how people will look at it,” Bryant said. “Like I said, nobody in this locker room, nobody in this organization had any problem because they know what kind of guy I am.”
“I just addressed it with him dead on,” Garrett said. “Dez is a fantastic football player and he’s a fantastic young man. He loves playing the game of football. He plays it with a tremendous amount of passion and emotion. He has a great deal of passion and emotion for our football team and his teammates. He was frustrated at the end of that ballgame. He said ‘Coach, I just couldn’t handle it when I saw those guys in our stadium taking a knee in a game we should have won.’ He said, ‘I don’t want to do something stupid with everybody watching so I wanted to remove myself from that situation.’
“I certainly understood that and explained to him why it’s important not to do that in the future. We all have that same kind of investment in that ballgame, it’s difficult for everybody when things don’t go well and he needs to understand how to handle that. I think he’ll handle that better in the future. He was very apologetic to me and was concerned about the situation. Again, we’ll handle it the right way next time.”
Added Bryant: “I think handling everything, I have not been doing that. Handling my emotions and all that kind of stuff professional. I can 100 percent agree to that. But I’ll be so tuned into the game, so focused on the game. Not caring about cameras. I don’t care, have not been caring about who’s looking. I’m a football guy. I don’t care about the stuff that comes with football. I just love the game and sometimes I need to understand and do a better job, it’s hard times, which I know that, but basically just handling those hard times.”