October 18 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
THIS CONTENT IS COPYWRITED, REDISTRIBUTION OF IT (including copy/pasting it to a message board, forum or bbs) IS PROHIBITED AND COULD RESULT IN LEGAL ACTIONS - feel free to quote up to 1 paragraph providing a source link to http://www.49ersparadise.cjb.net is included
I’ve stayed quiet about the latest Terrell Owens fiasco for quite some time, and really it’s because I didn’t feel there was anything to say about it. When Owens pulled a marker out of his sock to autograph a football for his financial advisor, after scoring a touchdown in Monday’s night game, the only rule he broke was giving a fan a ball - and was fined the $500 that goes with such an incident (and you thought official balls were expense in sports stores). He did not break any league policy or convention because his movements were ground breaking. The league has since issues an amendment to their celebration rules that will make this event ‘fineable’ in the future.
Unlike when Owens took center stage on the Cowboy’s emblem in Dallas, Owens latest actions were in no way taunting the opponent. The celebrations were not excessive and really it shouldn’t have offended any one. The cover corner on the play, Shawn Springs, who coincidentally has the same financial advisor as Owens took no offense to the actions, and Seahawk’s head coach didn’t even know it happened until he was asked about it the next day.
Still Holmgren and a few other Seahawks took offense to Owens’ innocent actions. Holmgren declared that it was a “disgrace to football and anyone who has ever played the game”. Another Seahawk, a defensive player, by the name of John Randle - who spent the day trash talking rookie Eric Heitmann, personally insulting his ability to play the piano (of all things), and who used go down on all ‘fours’ after a sack, pretending to be a dog urinating after sacking the quarterback was also perplexed over Owens’ actions.
With the 49ers backing Owens, from the top down (head coach Mariucci along with several players have spoken out in support of Owens), and coaches along with players from other teams throughout the league, have come to the consensus that Owens actions were not only not harmful, but were also original, creative, and entertaining.
So why all the fuss? Two reasons. First is that the Seahawks are looking for anything to distraction attention from losing another game, even after playing reasonably well. Talking about, and criticizing the actions of Terrell Owens certainly take the attention off the 99-yard scoring drive that effectively won the game for the 49ers. The second reason is that every action Owens takes is analyzed under a microscope by the media. Let me re-phrase, every potentially big story line is being analyzed under a microscope by the media.
The media choose to barely mention that volunteer time Owens is giving to the Alzheimer’s society, or how he is helping them earn donations. They fail to pay attention to the time he spends with his Grandmother who is suffering from the disease. Heck, they even fail to mention that his act, on Monday night was generous in offering a friend a ball that in effect cost Owens $500.
Most media chooses instead to focus on the potential big story line. “Terrell Owens actions outrageous -- again” has dominated the weekly press. It’s an easy subject to write about, because of some erroneous mistakes in Owens past. The media is looking for something to show that Owens has not reformed his personality. They are waiting for him to slip up - and thought that is what would happen with this story line. It’s quite unfortunate for the media, that only story here is how overblown the situation is. There is no discrepancy between what Owens and the 49ers believe regarding the actions, and most people did not think anything negative of it, until of course the media began its pessimistic coverage.
It’s time for the media to back off Owens. If they want to criticize him for his play on the field, or perhaps for breaking a law (should he ever do it) - that’s fine as long as it’s actually happens. Owens has reformed his personality, he is much more respectful to the organization than he has ever been, and so rather than the media focusing the negative light on his attitude, they too should move on and start commenting on Owens game, not how he celebrates touchdowns.