For obvious reasons I have paid more notice to the vast media attention surrounding Terrell Owens this year than in any other season. I have come to somewhat believe him when he talks about how his negative image is largely a creation of the media. I'll elaborate after the jump.
It's not exactly an earth-shattering revelation to say that American media (sports and otherwise) love a good negative news story. "Bad press" is what gets ratings/readers/website hits. So when a player gets visibly upset that his team lost it's all of a sudden national news? All professional athletes are extreme competitors, otherwise they would not have made it to the pinnacle of their chosen profession. I will say that I think the pose on the Cowboys star (funny though it was) as well as questioning Jeff Garcia's sexuality publicly in the media were over the line. Plenty of other players have crossed worse lines than that however and are still highly thought of as professionals. The sharpie and pom-pom incidents were just clever and creative entertainment. I feel bad for T.O. sometimes. We want our athletes to show some personality (ask anyone who has interviewed Tiger Woods) but then we criticize them when that personality doesn't fit into some neat little box that society has created. I don't think that Owens is completely off the hook however. Crying over Romo (IMO he was faking) and the whole popcorn thing played right into the media's hands but I ask again, does that make him a bad guy or a good entertainer? I think it's the latter. The American media should blame themselves in part for the creation that is T.O., they have sent him mixed signals on what they want from him.
His larger-than-life personality leads the media to gloss over or completely ignore any positive things that he does. Most of you are by now aware of his award winning contributions to the fight against Alzheimer's but ask a casual NFL or non-Bills fan about it and chances are they will have no idea what you are talking about. To the critics that say he is a destructive locker room force I would say that it's only possible for 1 player to destroy a locker room if the other players, team leaders and coaches let him. Give me a break, there are more than 50 other grown men in that room. If T.O. did indeed "destroy" a locker room I would say that is more of a negative reflection on those 50+ other men than on Owens himself. I believe this is once again a case of the media latching onto something negative and refusing to let go or change their mind. The reality show also seems to draw much ire from the press saying that Owens is a shameless self-promoter. Shaq does more self-promoting than T.O. and people think he is funny. (Full disclosure, I think Shaq is hilarious) I would say that any athlete who makes a public twitter post is self-promoting. Besides, there are far worse shows in that genre (I Love New York anyone?). People also like to say that T.O. has been given multiple chances just by virtue of the fact that he has played for 3 different teams and his stays in each place have ended "unfavorably". I think this is a case of a double-standard applying to Owens. Players with far less talent (Pacman, Chris Henry) have been given just as many, or more "chances" than T.O. for FAR worse indiscretions. Besides, as I have said already, I don't think those "unfavorable" endings can be placed 100% at T.O.'s feet.
What do you think Rumblers, do I have a point or am I seeing the world through "Bills-colored glasses"?