FRISCO - ''Tank As Tormentor'' is what he is paid to do when it comes to playing against Eli Manning and the New York Giants. "Tank As Tormentor'' is a role Dallas Cowboys star DeMarcus Lawrence playfully relishes .. even when it comes to pre-teen fans of the "enemy.''
On Tuesday morning, a video of Lawrence denying an autograph to a young Giants-jersey-wearing fan went viral. He informed the boy that he was wearing the wrong jersey. It was pretty badass, really, for those of us who miss the days when NFC East teams actually "sports-hated'' one another. But it has sparked national debate about how Tank handled the situation.
On Tuesday night, Lawrence went through with his pre-scheduled plans to do a benefit for Boys and Girls Club of America in DFW, thus proving, as he said Wednesday afternoon, "D-Law loves the kids.''
But I can promise you, he also loves playing the role of the lovable bully. And he proved it when I asked him, "What are you going to do when, this weekend while we're in Washington, a kid wearing a Redskins jersey comes up and asks for an autograph?''
But first things first.
“It kind of shocked me,'' Tank said of the media uproar. "I don’t think that was the first time I told somebody ‘Hey bro, you’ve got the wrong jersey, get you a new jersey. Tell your parents, for Christmas, you need a DeMarcus Lawrence (jersey) – I mean, we’ve got more people on the Cowboys. We’ve got Jaylon Smith, we’ve got plenty – Dak Prescott. So you choose. It don’t have to be a DeMarcus Lawrence jersey, but we like the Silver and Blue.”
I have a feeling Tank will eventually find a way to pacify the masses. Indeed, he did apologize to the young Giants fan (even though I still think it a) smells like an attention-grab, a set-up ...
... and b) is an echo back to when there was "Giants Week'' and "Redskins Week'' in DFW and the healthy hatred was glorious).
“I think what really turned people the wrong way is that I really wasn’t paying no attention and the sadness on the kid’s face,” Lawrence said. “I apologize to the kid. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings. But things happen in life.”
Ah, yes. Things happen. "No's'' happen. That was part of Tank's point later in our media conversation when he noted that The Little Giant might as we get used to hearing "no's'' in life.
"You can’t just walk around life thinking you have the privilege of getting everything you want,'' Tank explained, going deep. "So when you hear 'no' you have to be able to accept that 'no' and move on. ... It’s just like a door-to-door salesman. You’re going to get some 'no's when you’re selling insurance at people's door. They're going to tell you, 'No no no.' You keep coming home to your wife with 'no' she’s eventually going to leave you because you’re not bringing no money to the table ..
"It’s all about getting back out there and keep trying, bro,'' he said. "So if I see you again you might get my autograph.”
OK, but then I asked Lawrence about this weekend. Same situation. Cowboys vs. an NFC East rival and here comes a cute kid in a Redskins jersey.
"I'll sign it!'' he said.
"Really?'' I asked.
"Yeah,'' I'll sign it,'' Tank said, leaning over and grabbing my shirt as if he's autographing it. "And you know what I'm gonna put on there? 'DeMarcus Keenum.''
Tank will this weekend be chasing Washington QB Case Keenum, so ... get the joke? This time, he'll go ahead and sign for the enemy fan - with a bogus signature. Yet another lesson for yet another NFC East rival who might be destined to be a door-to-door salesman.