Yesterday rumors of an alleged video "five times worse than the Ray Rice video" involving Dallas Cowboys star Dez Bryant nearly broke the internet. Media outlets everywhere have run wild with speculation. The problem? Very little of it is confirmed.
I've spent more time than I would like to admit combing through just about everything out there on this supposed video. All of it, everything referenced, boils down to just a few reports. So let's cut through the bull, and get to the bottom of this.
Before I start though, let's get a couple of things out of the way right now. First, NO ONE, not a single media member, to this point has claimed to have actually seen the the alleged video. If it even exists. Second, the alleged incident reportedly happened a few years ago, and this isn't a recent incident.
NFL insiders have claimed to have heard whispers of a video for months involving Dez Bryant in some sort of altercation. Something similar to the Ray Rice video. It's been nothing more than watercooler gossip though. However, things ramped up last week when Mike Florio of NBC's ProFootballTalk.com went on Dallas Radio Station 105.3 the Fan, and, by his own words, 'blurted' out the rumor for public consumption.
Florio said it's an alleged Ray Rice type incident, but he did say that he doesn't know know whether a video exists or not. "It may just be a ghost, a whisper, and there might not be anything there".
If you've heard the alleged video is "five times worse than the Ray Rice video", that all stems from one single post made on Tuesday by sports gossip blog Terez Owens. They claim that the Dallas Cowboys were concerned over the alleged video, and thus the hesitation to do a long term deal. Their source is claiming the video is "five times worse than the Ray Rice Video", and that his career is in jeopardy. Everyone else reporting the "five times worse" statement is referencing this single report.
On Wednesday several articles claimed that the video was being shopped around. All of this seems to be based off of Twitter when @JaywanInc reported that the alleged video was being shopped to the media, and that there were screenshots to verify that the video does exist.
Screenshots of the Dez Bryant were sent to all media outlets including us to let the bidding begin. Obviously, we're not TMZ. No interest.— Jaywan Inc. (@JaywanInc) February 25, 2015
A deadline was set by Bryant's former friends/extortionists for today for either TMZ or Bryant's team to purchase the tape.— Jaywan Inc. (@JaywanInc) February 25, 2015
In response, DeadSpin posted an article offering to pay for the video.
The video is reportedly for sale to the highest bidder, or, alternately, being used to extort Bryant. To that we would add: to anyone in possession of the video, email us at Deadspin, and perhaps we will pay you money for the video.
In the same article, DeadSpin alluded to their skepticism on whether or not a video even exists.
There is a subrumor going around that screenshots of the video have been sent out. But none of those screenshots have surfaced, and no one in the media we've spoken to has seen any alleged images.
Yesterday afternoon Mike Florio posted an article on NBC's ProFootballTalk.com with the headline, "Schefter Confirms Rumor of Dez Bryant Video". Just one problem ESPN's Adam Schefter didn't actually say that. He hasn't exactly denied it either, but still, he didn't flat out say that he knows the video exists.
Florio's headline is referencing a radio interview where Schefter is asked about the rumor with Chicago's ESPN 100. I posted the full transcript from the part of the conversation in question on Tuesday, and at no time does Schefter actually confirm there is a video, just that he's heard of a video, and that he knows what's said to be on the video. If there actually is one.
Carmen and Jurko: "Have you heard about, so you've heard this video?"
Adam Schefter: "Heard about it?"
Carmen and Jurko: "Ya. Have you seen it? Do you know what's on it?"
Adam Schefter: "Yeah."
Carmen and Jurko: "Have you seen it? Is it less than complimentary?"
Adam Schefter: "I have not seen it."
Listening to the audio, Schefter seemed reluctant to speak on the subject, and even Mike Florio acknowledges that Adam used measured words when he did. I have absolutely no idea how that got contorted to Schefter confirming the existence of the video.
Schefter even seemed to go out of his way to caution that the story isn't ready for the public, it may never be ready, and talking about it isn't fair to Dez.
"Well listen, whatever we've been working on is not ready for anybody, and maybe it never will be. Who knows? You know, you've got to be very careful on these things. People can talk about videos, they can talk about this, they can talk about that. The fact of the matter is, it doesn't mean anything and it's really not fair to him right now, until you have all your facts in line. Which we spent a long time trying to do." Adam said.
A Police Incident Report
From the start it was said the alleged video was supposedly taken a few years ago at a Walmart. Whether it was surveillance footage, or personal footage shot with a device such as a cell phone is unclear. Given that the video is supposedly in the sole possession of a former friend of Dez's though, it leads me to believe that it's not Walmart security footage, if it even exists at all.
Last November, about the time the rumors first started swirling, NFL Media personality Ian Rapoport reported that police had been to Dez Bryant's home in DoSoto, TX at least six times. The news was a bit shocking as a whole, but as Mike Florio reported, when you looked at each incident individually, nothing seemed to be there. It's even unclear if Dez Bryant was even home at the time of some of them. In Florio's radio interview last week he even mentions that he heard the Rapoport went looking for the video back in November, and these police reports were all he could find. Something Florio mentions again in an article this morning.
As mentioned last Friday, February 20, when I inadvertently let the cat out of the bag regarding the previously worst-kept secret among reporters covering the NFL, Rapoport's overhyped Dez Bryant rap sheet was the result of a chase for a much bigger prize: The long-rumored video of an incident involving Dez Bryant doing something he shouldn't have been doing.
In that same article from this morning Florio talks about a police report from 2011 that was made public by NFL Media today.
In 2011 DoSoto, TX police were called to a local Walmart when a witness described seeing a woman dragged from her car (registered to Dez Bryant), and placed in another vehicle. You can read the full report below, but here's the highlights:
- An unknown witness reported seeing a black female dragged from a white Mercedes to another vehicle by a black male in a Walmart parking lot, and that the Mercedes was still in the parking lot with it's door open.
- Upon arrival to the scene a security guard reported finding the Mercedes, which ended up being registered to Dez Bryant, with the door open, no one around, and a childs toy on the ground.
- A few minutes later a black Escalade (also registered to Dez) arrived with two men inside, Carl King and Christopher Mitchell. The men were separated and questioned, and both men had the same story. They stated the alleged victim, Ilyne Nash, had called them and asked them to pick up 'her' Mercedes.
- While the police questioned King and Mitchell, a white Bentley arrived with Dez Bryant and Ilyne Nash, the alleged victim. Nash told police that she had been in an argument with a person named Alex Penson, and left with him in his vehicle. She confirmed that she had asked King and Mitchell to pick up her car, and she said that she was not assaulted or injured in any way, and that it was just an argument with Penson. She said she was dropped off at a friends house where she was picked up by Dez Bryant. She also said that she was asked by King to come back to the parking lot.
- When police questioned Bryant he stated that he had been contacted by Nash who said she had been in an argument with someone, and he went to pick her up. He then came with her to the parking lot for support.
- It was determined that no offense took place, and all parties were told they were free to go.
Mike Florio raised a question in yet another article published today. Why didn't police officers request to see the security footage of the incident?
The police officer "determined that there was no offense" after "speaking with all parties involved." But the police report reveals no conversation with Alex Penson, who clearly was one of the "parties involved." The police report also says nothing about whether and to what extent the incident that prompted the call to police was captured by Wal-Mart surveillance cameras.
Every Wal-Mart store has a security office that includes one or more monitors for viewing the real-time and recorded contents of the surveillance cameras. The police officer merely had to walk into the store, ask for directions to the security office, and request assistance for the retrieval of the surveillance video, if any.
I can't answer that for the officers, but questioning someone over how they did their job four years later is just ridiculous. Were they supposed to have the foresight that NFL insiders would be looking for their "prize" years later? What I do know is that they clearly spoke with the security officer during their investigation, and for whatever reason they didn't feel like watching security footage was necessary. After all, they spoke with the alleged victim, and she had no injuries to indicate that she had suffered any kind of abuse.
So What Now?
The Cowboys issued a statement saying that they're "not in the business of commenting on rumors or an alleged tape the contents of which no one can validate.", and honestly that's about as much attention as this deserves right now. I still don't know if there's a video or not, but with each passing hour it seems less and less likely.
As long as you have media members looking for their "prize" though, the rumors will persist. They won't stop until they get what they want. Whether or not there was anything ever there to get. As Mike Florio put it this morning.
Eventually, the video is coming out. In the interim, Bryant, Carl King, Christopher Mitchell, Alex Penson (whoever he is), and the alleged victim can expect to be pursued by members of the media for more details regarding what did and didn't happen in that Wal-Mart parking lot.