What a Waste

9 November 2005

Terrell Owens Sacked by Philadelphia Eagles

Terrell Owens is an immensely talented football player. The Philadelphia Eagles believed he could help them win a Super Bowl before his stormy personality disrupted the team too severely. They were wrong. Mr. Owens has been benched for four games, he will be deactivated for the rest of the year and dropped permanently (if not traded) by the team after that. His ego is the problem.

Statistically, Mr. Owens is one of the greatest receivers in the game today. This season, which is only half finished, he has made 47 catches for 763 yards, scoring 6 touchdowns. This places him fourth in yardage behind Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers, Santana Moss of the Washington Redskins, and Chad Johnson of the Cincinnati Bengals. For his career, he has 716 catches in 142 games, covering more than 10,000 yards. He has scored 101 touchdowns.

However, he has problems playing well with others. He complained that the Eagles didn’t make enough of a fuss over him when he made his 100th touchdown. He claimed that the Eagles would be better off with Brett Favre as quarterback than his own teammate Donovan McNabb. And he got into a fight with former player Hugh Douglas who is still an “ambassador” (i.e., public relations person) for the Eagles.

Sports Illustrated reports a story that sums up the situation. “Owens summoned police to his house in Moorestown, N.J., late Monday because there were some people on his property. Owens said he wanted to be left alone, had no comment and would contact the news media when he did want to speak, police at the scene said. Later, two pizzas were delivered to Owens' home. Someone answered the door -- not Owens -- and gave deliveryman James McDevitt a $5 tip. McDevitt said he left the tip on the door step.” When the pizza delivery guy doesn’t want the tip, someone is very unpopular.

The problem, of course, is the excessive coddling that American athletes receive from early childhood on. In school, their grades are inflated to keep them eligible to play. In college, that is compounded by scholarships to play games while real scholars go into debt to pay tuition. And as professionals, they are handed millions to play a game that children play for free. They are entertainers, but entertainment is the icing on the cake – it is not the bread of civilization. Somewhere along the line, they were mistaken for people who actually matter.

Terrell Owens is just the latest jackass whose ego has prevented him from being truly great, and his day-late and dollar-short apology only makes him look craven and stupid. Keyshawn Johnson had the same kind of trouble with the Tamp Bay Buccaneers a couple of years ago. And the case of Mike Tyson is the saddest of all – physically, he could have been greater than Muhammad Ali, mentally, he was a 98 pound weakling. Mr. Owens is in the same boat. He won’t be missed.

© Copyright 2005 by The Kensington Review, J. Myhre, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent.
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