Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders, who once served as a mentor to Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant, thinks the former first-round pick needs some serious help in the wake of a criminal trespass warning last weekend at a Dallas mall.
"I'm upset but not surprised whatsoever," Sanders said on ESPN 103.3's Ben & Skin Show, per ESPNDallas.com. Sanders described Bryant's behavior at NorthPark Center on Saturday as "ignorant."
Bryant, the Cowboys' first-round pick last year, was issued the warning when an off-duty police officer asked that he and his friends pull up their pants because their underwear was showing. Bryant used profanity when addressing the officer, according to the police report.
But Bryant insists his only mistake was using profanity, and said he was shoved in the back as he was escorted outside.
"I feel like the cop was in the wrong here more than anything," Bryant told ESPNDallas.com's Tim McMahon today. "Don't just make it seem like I went off and had a hot head for no reason. That's the only thing I did wrong -- I used profanity."
Sanders remains convinced Bryant is troubled. "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 said he ended his relationship with Bryant over the summer due to the receiver's dishonesty, according to ESPNDallas.com.
"I wish Deion would come to me as a man and talk to me," Bryant told the website. "I've been reaching out to Deion. I've never done anything wrong to Deion or disrespected him. I've never lied to Deion."
Bryant was suspended by the NCAA in September 2009 for the remainder of the season for lying about having lunch with Sanders.
"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."
"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."
Bryant told the website he no longer wants a relationship with Sanders, one of his idols as a child growing up in Lufkin, Texas. But Bryant does want to address Sanders "man-to-man."
"It bothers me more than anything," Bryant said. "I've looked up to Deion my whole life. I've never done anything wrong to him."