Upshot of MallGate? Dez Bryant, Deion Sanders no longer pals
Remember when Deion Sanders was the one providing guidance and leadership for Dez Bryant?
Well, that’s apparently ended and now Sanders is firing on Bryant in the midst of MallGate, the case in which Bryant has been banned for 90 days from NorthPark Center Mall in Dallas after receiving a criminal trespass warning for behaving, well, like a jackass.
“I'm upset but not surprised whatsoever," Sanders said on ESPN 103.3 FM in Dallas, according to ESPN Dallas. “"He needs help. He needs help," Sanders said. "I told the Cowboys from Day One that he needs help. Matter of fact, they have a team in place to help him. But you cannot tell a grown man what to do."
Sanders labeled Bryant’s behavior “ignorant” and it’s clear they’re no longer closely associated. Sanders said he split with Bryant after he became concerned the Dallas Cowboys wide receiver could be a negative influence on young kids he’s mentoring.
“I don't have a problem with you lying to me. That's one thing," Sanders said. "But when you lie to yourself as a man, you have a serious problem and that's where this kid is. And I can't condone it. I really can't. It tarnishes everything else I'm trying to develop in these kids (in his youth program). I can't allow you to poison other kids that I'm trying to mentor and take to another level.”
Per the report, Bryant could be allowed to return to the mall today. Earlier reports indicated he shopped at Foot Locker three times a week. Maybe he doesn’t have a lot else going on during the lockout.
Bryant was upset at Sanders’ criticism and suggested it had another root.
“I never knew the reason for Deion not saying anything to me," Bryant told ESPN Dallas. “The only thing I can believe is that when I stopped talking to Under Armour, Deion stopped talking to me. I never knew what Prime's problem was.
“That's my decision. That has nothing to do with Prime. That made me feel he must be getting something from Under Armour.”
Bryant said he no longer desires a relationship with Sanders. The feeling is mutual.
“I haven't spoken to the kid," Sanders said. "I have no desire to speak to the kid. In regards to me, I can forgive, but I can't forget. You can't tarnish the other things that I have going on and the other kids. It's sort of like I can't allow something to poison the fruit of many other kids. I can't do it, so I cut off those ties a long time ago.”
The upshot of the whole shopping mall ordeal gone bad? We’ve learned Bryant and Sanders want nothing to do with each other. Stay tuned. Surely, the lockout will bring us more tales of harmony and ways to kill free time.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune