Time Out For T.O. Hating
Enough Already! The media storm has not stopped since it was announced that Terrell Owens, the man who stood on the star, would be wearing the star for the 2006 NFL season. But the latest turn in the 'T.O.' saga has gone from the ridiculous to the sublime. First was the signing, and whether he would break up the Cowboys, then there was the book. And now what are they talking about? In the immortal words of Allen Iverson:
Practice…..We talkin' about practice….not the game, not the game…we talkin' about practice man… (please check out this classic audio at you tube ).
It amazes me, how athletes like T.O. and Dennis Rodman can play the media to such a degree. Local sports talk -especially ESPN 103.3- print and TV sports have all followed every move Terrell has made on his stationary bike over the last week or so. Apparently they aren't buying that Terrell has a hamstring injury, opting to spout off conspiracy theories and doomsday predications. And to think they get paid for this mess.
Sports Talk specifically, and the sports media in general, have become an easy avenue for men who wish they had made the pros, to spew venom at those who actually fulfilled their dreams. These men (and women) speak and write in terms of how they feel the "game" should be played, reminiscing about days gone by when players respected said games. Black men have become the overwhelming targets of the modern day sports predictors and prognosticators.
Bad characters in sports are nothing new. However the media's portrayal of athlete misconduct has done a 180 in recent years. Baseball provides a great case study on this subject. Prior to the mid 70's, America's Pastime was really the only sport that mattered. Baseball is littered with cheaters, miscreants, and people of ill repute. But the old time media, made up of white males, could sympathize with the players, and rarely allowed their indiscretions to become public knowledge.
For every Barry Bonds, who "never knowingly" took steroids, I can find you a Gaylord Perry, who spitball his way into the Baseball Hall of Fame. For every Albert Belle, I can bring you Ty Cobb, who once went into the stands to attack a handicapped fan. And for every Kirby Puckett, good guy with a wandering eye, there's a Mickey Mantle. To listen to the sports media these days, you would think athlete misconduct is a novel concept, but it's not.
T.O. will be there when Dallas visits Jacksonville for their first contest. This is not new to Bill Parcels, Lawrence Taylor often held out of NY Giants camp to avoid the grueling workouts. Anyone in football, with the exception of the owners, will tell you the NFL preseason is two weeks too long. These tune up games allow owners to charge full price to fans and sponsors for an extra couple of weeks. I challenge you to lobserve how the media refers to these young black men in the sports arena. Tell me if you hear them referred to as thugs, lazy, in need of discipline, and other negative terms. Or maybe I'm just covering for guys I can relate to.