I really admire Dale Hansen, weeknight sports anchor and sports director at WFAA — the ABC affiliate here in Dallas.
He has the courage to tell it like it is, which shouldn't come as a surprise, really. Nearly 30 years ago, he exposed NCAA violations at Southern Methodist University that ultimately led to the imposition of the NCAA's "death penalty" on SMU's football program. His work earned some awards for distinguished journalism — and several death threats, as I recall.
Football is virtually a religion in Texas. It's that way across the South, but it seems especially true of Texas.
And I love to watch football as much as anyone. I grew up in Arkansas, and we love our Razorbacks. It's the only thing that nearly everyone in Arkansas agrees on.
We love to like win, like just about everyone, I guess, but I honestly do believe that we also have standards in Arkansas. I think that was proven when the head coach was found to be carrying on an intimate relationship with a young female assistant. He is now coaching elsewhere, and the football program was subjected to some excruciating growing pains after he left, but the ship seems to be going in the right direction now — and it appears to be doing so with a group of young men who seem to know the meaning of the word honor.
That is part of what makes it so difficult to live here in the Metroplex and see how Jerry Jones has mismanaged the Cowboys for more than a quarter of a century now. I've lived here for all but four of those years — I even covered Jimmy Johnson's first press conference as Jones' new head coach hire — but I might as well have grown up here, given that most of the people in central Arkansas in those days were Cowboys fans.
Then, as now, there was no professional football team in Arkansas — and only a few professional teams within driving distance. The Cowboys were televised there every week. It was only natural, I suppose, for football fans there to gravitate to the Cowboys. Those who are still living — and many of their children and grandchildren — have carried on the tradition.
The Cowboys of those days played aggressive football — for which they were either admired or loathed, but, either way, no one could deny they carried themselves with dignity and honor. Tom Landry and Tex Schramm wouldn't have it any other way. Their players played hard on the field, and the Cowboys had something like 20 consecutive winning seasons, which I am sure put them under a great deal of pressure — including all the talk locally that they couldn't win "the big one" — but they didn't beat their wives, their girlfriends or their children when they were off the field.
Recently, though, Jones signed defensive lineman Greg Hardy. In case you aren't familiar with Hardy's background, you can get a pretty good idea of his personal history by reading this by Judy Battista of NFL.com.
You could get a really good idea of his background by listening to Hansen for three minutes earlier this week.
And, while it is tempting to summarize for you what Hansen said, it is far more effective if you see it and hear it for yourself.
So I urge you to watch the attached video.
Dale, I agree with you 100%