July 28, 2010
The Dallas Cowboys rookie entered the NFL with a questionable rep following his abbreviated career at Oklahoma State and in his first four days of training camp, he's done nothing to suggest he won't be the diva we all expected.
On Monday, we detailed Bryant's refusal to participate in rookie hazing rituals (he has since blamed the problem on the "media"). That same day, Under Armour told CNBC that it has ended its relationship with the receiver after just five months.
Bryant had signed a deal with the shoe and apparel company in February and was featured in commercials for Under Armour at the NFL Combine, but showed up to his first Cowboys training camp wearing Nike shoes and gloves. Making the matter all the more strange was that Bryant isn't under contract with Nike.
These antics may have permanently damaged Bryant's earnings potential, writes Sportsimpacts director Patrick Rishe on Forbes.com:
Dez Bryant has a lot to learn about the business and logistics of being a professional football player. And his agent and/or marketing team had better hope that his story is not the beginning of a cautionary tale of how not to behave upon transitioning from the college ranks to the NFL. His behavior to date has already left millions on the table, and continued defiant and immature behavior may leave Mr. Bryant a very unliked, unpopular, and financially underachieving individual. [...]
Sponsors today more than ever are highly sensitive to the kind of public image their celebrity endorsers project. It's tough enough for companies to justify sport sponsorships these days, let alone take a chance to invest in a relationship with an athlete of questionable behavior, demeanor, and character.
Bryant may get more name recognition and time on "SportsCenter" by playing the role of the prima donna, but not endorsements. After all, everyone knows who Terrell Owens(notes) is, but when's the last time you saw him in a commercial?
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