08/20/2006: "Cirque du T.O. .. Behind The Media's Obsession With Terrell Owens"
Cirque du T.O. .. Behind The Media's Obsession With Terrell Owens
Written Robert Littal
Email Robert Littal
Some things never change. There will be at least 1 Tupac CD every year for the next 20 years, Joe Theismann will continue to be horrible on TV, the women on Flavor of Love will deserve academy awards for pretending to want to kiss Flavor Flav, and last but not least, the one thing that is guaranteed not to change is:
The Mediaís desire to bring down Terrell Owens.
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Before I get to them though, I have to speak on T.O. There is no hiding the fact that I like Owens; I think he is a breath of fresh air in a league that is overly strict and conservative. With that being, said you know that Owens brings a lot of this unneeded attention on himself. I used to think that he didnít know what he was doing and that may have been the case early on in his career, but now I am 100% he knows exactly what he is doing.
So the question now begs who is taking advantage of whom? The media, specifically ESPN, seems to be dying for Owens to do something controversial. I was flipping through my cable channels about a week ago and Outside The Lines was on. To my amazement, they did an entire 30 minute show just on Owensís hamstring. Outside The Lines is an award winning show that is supposed to be talking about issues that are relevant to sports, but decided to take the time out to have a discussion with expert guest analysis to break down the psychological impact and how this could destroy the team.
I watched the Hall of Fame game with the Eagles and half of the broadcast was about T.O., and he doesnít even play for the Eagles anymore. They all felt so bad for poor Donovan McNabb like he was Peter Parker getting picked on by Flash Thompson (if you donít know what I am talking about you need to read Amazing Spiderman #1). Then they went to Jeff Garcia, who still seems like a bitter wife who was verbally abused by her husband. To be honest, there hasnít been one preseason game I have watched (and I have pretty much watched a portion of them all, thanks to the NFL Network) where Owens name isnít mentioned at least once.
I am watching Tom Jackson rant and rave about how T.O. is being selfish and how this is going to destroy the team. I am watching NFL Live, SportsCenter, Around The Horn and PTI and they are all talking about when T.O. will destroy the team.
Did I mention that the Cowboys have only playedÖ
2 PRESEASON GAMES!?!?!?
Steve Smith tweaked his hamstring a couple of weeks ago and we havenít seen him since, but I donít think anyone even remembers that (unless you play fantasy football). Brian Westbrook tweaked his ankle and wonít play in any more preseason games, and that barely registers a blip on the radar. Terry Glenn has missed the same amount of time Owens has because of blisters on his feet, but I am going to assume that you didnít know anything about that, since they never talk about that.
Poor Bill Parcells has turned into Allen Iverson when talking about practice. It is worse than a daytime soap opera, and we arenít even close to the first game of the season.
As I stated before, Owens is keenly aware of the media attention and he is playing it up as only he can. From bringing in his own hypobaric chamber to dressing like Lance Armstrong while riding an exercise bike (in Dallas they called it the Tour De T.O.). I believe it is these types of actions that give fuel to the media to try to bring him down.
I have never seen a media contingent from ESPN to CNNSI so dead set on making sure that one athlete fails. They are doing anything and everything to make sure that Owens doesnít make it through the season in Dallas. They are hounding Bill Parcells on a daily basis, trying to get him to say something controversial. Even when he doesnít say anything negative, they twist it, reword it and edit it to make it seem like it is negative. They are feigning, digging, searching and hoping they can find something to bring him down. They have secret moles allegedly inside of the Cowboys complex. If they canít find something they are going to make it up. Did I mention the Cowboys have only played 2 preseason games?
The ironic thing is the more attention they give Owens, the bigger star he becomes. They would like you to believe he is the most hated man in the world, but the reality he is by far the most talked about athlete in the NFL. His jersey is the #1 seller for the NFL, he is known just by his initials and you canít go through a day where he is not being talked about.
I still find it disturbing that the media will spend countless hours trying to convince you, the fan, he is so bad, when real bad guys like Koren Robinson are reported as just needing help. Joe Theismann was singing the praises of Robinson and 24 hours later he is doing his best Maurice Clarett impression on the highway, but Owens is the worst guy in the league? The manipulation is at such an obvious level that even the members of media admit they are making something out of nothing. It is the equivalent of the mob telling the police they are going to murder someone. Then they kill them and not get charged with the crime. Donít be manipulated people, use some common sense and just enjoy the circus that is T.O.
*Edited by C. Coplen