Dez Bryant's body language and in-game actions have become their own subculture.
The media might be in a hurry to typecast the excitable Bryant as something he's not, but aware is not a word we'll be leaning on heavily anytime soon. Bryant told the Dallas Morning News Sunday night that he was not penalized for getting angry with a referee in the win over the Minnesota Vikings — but rather that he took his helmet off to talk to said ref.
The incident occurred when Bryant was called for offensive pass interference and then was flagged for taking his helmet to argue the call. The flags moved the Cowboys out of field-goal range and forced them to punt, and Bryant had to be restrained by Jason Witten and Tony Romo to get to the sideline.
What's more: Bryant had no clue that taking his hat off on the field was a punishable offense by the NFL's rules.
“I wasn’t angry at the ref,” Bryant said. “I was trying to see what the call was. I thought they called pass interference on the defense. When I was trying to come out of my break, the guy was tugging on me a little bit and I was trying to break away from it.
“He threw the flag, and the whole time I’m thinking it’s a flag on him. Then I took my helmet off, and I didn’t know that that was a penalty. I was kind of shocked and then I heard the ref say, ‘He took his helmet off.’ I know now not to take my helmet off. If you go back and look at the play, you’ll see I’m shocked. I’m confused.”
The only thing confusing to the viewer is how Bryant did not know it was a penalty. If the coaching staff never told him that, it's on Jason Garrett and Co.
Referee Jeff Triplette's call of the penalty didn't hide his annoyance with Bryant, either. Said Triplette:
"Pass interference, No. 88 of the offense. That penalty is declined. Now, as I was about to make the announcement, unsportsmanlike conduct, No. 88 of the offense, taking his helmet off and arguing with the official. That penalty will be enforced. It will be fourth down.”
And one big lesson learned. We think.
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