The Dallas Cowboys took a major hit to their playoff chances on Sunday when wide receiver Dez Bryant injured his hand. Initial reports were that Bryant would need season-ending hand surgery, but the team is seeking a second opinion. Jerry Jones has come out and said that it will be Bryant’s decision whether to have the surgery or continue playing. That is the wrong move.
The Cowboys have been making their push for the playoffs in recent weeks thanks to the improved play of Bryant. The young wide out has had plenty of issues since coming to Dallas, but finally looked to be turning the corner and realizing his full potential. That makes the timing of the injury even more frustrating for both Dallas and Bryant.
But for Jones to give the final say to Bryant, a young, prideful aplha male football player, is irresponsible at best and underhanded at worst. The Cowboys’ owner knows more than anyone that the pressure is constantly on Dallas to have success with a deep playoff run. He knows because he’s often the one applying it. Without Bryant on the field, there’s a good chance Dallas misses out on the playoffs again, which would be disastrous.
So JJ puts the onus on Bryant to decide not only his own fate, but also the fate of the team at large. If he chooses to have surgery, he’ll likely prolong his career and avoid further irreversible damage to his hand, but he’ll be letting down the team. If he plays, he may help Dallas get into the playoffs, but he risks doing serious damage to the hand and shortening his career. Either way, it’s his choice, though, so Jones and the Cowboys can stay clear of the fallout.
If Bryant chooses the more prudent path and gets the surgery, Jones has somewhere to point the finger if the season goes south. He can lay the blame at Bryant’s feet for choosing to quit on the team, though it was the better personal choice for his own health. If Bryant continues to play and does further harm to his hand, Jones can wash his hands of blame because it was the wide receiver’s own choice to play.
It’s apparent which way Jones wants Bryant to go. After reports of Jones and injured nose tackle Jay Ratliff having words in the locker room after the owner/GM tried to urge Ratliff to come back from a groin injury a little quicker, Jerry Jones is obviously only concerned with wins and losses rather than the long term health of his players.
And as a hot-blooded football player, there is no way that Bryant chooses to have the surgery. Whether it’s a concussion or a broken finger, if a player can still stand and line up in the right spot, he’s going to choose to be out there.
It is irresponsible and underhanded of the Cowboys and Jerry Jones to give final say over this injury to the player. It plays right into what Jones wants Bryant to do without making him liable for the player doing it.
In short, Jerry Jones is the worst.