Dallas Cowboys wide receiver, Dez Bryant, and a few of his friends, were kicked out of a Dallas mall recently for getting into a dispute with the police about their sagging pants. It may sound trite, but Bryant insisted to ESPN that his pants weren’t sagging; it was his friends that were the problem. “It really wasn’t me in the wrong; it’s not even an issue.” Check out the rest of the story here.
I find this story a bit comical, yet saddening. Shouldn’t Dez, the successful one of the group, hold some influence over his friends? Furthermore, how does a request to pick up their sagging pants lead them to getting escorted out of the mall?
This story and its impending questions illustrates the importance of surrounding yourself with a group of competent, capable, and mature friends. When you are surrounded by good people, your actions and demeanor changes; you become a better person. But when you hang out with the wrong crowd, their negative influence will often affect your behavior.
The Rabbis had this in mind when they wrote in Ethics of the Fathers, “Whoa to the wicked man and whoa to his neighbor.” The neighbor’s behavior and attitude, by virtue of his relationship with the wicked man, will suffer.
It is, therefore, not surprising that the tribe of Reuven was drawn into Korach’s dispute against Moshe. The fact that their camps were adjacent to each other in the desert contributed to Korach’s influence and manipulation over them.
Dez Bryant has a history of bad behavior going back to his college days at Oklahoma St. and I wonder how much better off he would have been then and now, if surrounded by more mature, responsible, and upright people.