The last place you’d expect to see the embattled Cowboys star is at a “Men against Abuse” rally coordinated by Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings.
Bryant’s had his share of off-field problems, including a domestic altercation in July. He was arrested for allegedly hitting his mother, but she decided a foul son is better than a son in cuffs, and no charges were filed. Bryant made a surprise visit to the rally, which attracted a crowd of thousands. He joined ex-Cowboys stars and moral pillars, Roger Staubach and Emmitt Smith, in denouncing domestic abuse of any kind.
Bryant delivered a brief speech to the crowd, and after the rally, was terse with reporters saying: "Here's all you need to know. I'm done with domestic abuse."
Bryant’s either growing up or he has a hell of a PR team.
This is a touchy situation. Most people want to believe that Bryant is trying to be proactive in his maturation process by embracing his demons and flipping the script on them. It’s admirable that he would expose himself to public criticism and admit his previous problems, to advance an important issue.
Regardless of whose idea it was, and if the purpose was authentic or a calculated step in reforming Bryant’s ticking-time-bomb image—Bryant’s appearance at the rally is a good look.
Athletes, and the way they are covered in the media, leave lasting impressions on our kids. Bryant’s fame, success and nasty pass-snatching acumen makes him a role model for inspiring athletes—particularly those from single-family, financially-strapped homes, who depend on cats like Bryant to provide the inspiration and blueprint for their lives.
The fact that he is expending energy towards a good cause should really boost his image in the football community. Speaking from a position of reformed victimizer turned anti-abuse advocate, gives Bryant credibility as well. Mothers can use him as an example of good, instead of a cautionary tale.
It makes him a true X-factor in the prevention of one of America’s most troubling and prevailing domestic issues. Don’t get me wrong. Hitting his mom’s was a bitch-move. Attending that rally, accepting responsibility for past transgressions and attempting to educate the abusers and comfort the abused—that Mr. Bryant is a man’s move. Welcome to adulthood.