Despite the fact that Terrell Owens wowed Seahawks' head coach Pete Carroll so much that he was offered a contract just hours after touching down in Seattle, members of the "Bash T.O. Bandwagon" have already come out of the woodwork using assumptions, unsubstantiated accusations and generalizations as the heart of their argument against the NFL's second all-time leading receiver.
On a recent episode of ESPN's First Take, former NFL veteran Christian Fauria launched a verbal tirade against Owens without providing so much as a single ounce of actual evidence to substantiate his negative claims.
Fauria's argument was so weak that it can easily be broken down paragraph by paragraph:
"I have always been a fan of Terrell Owens' work ethic. I've been a fan of the way he comes back from an injury - which is obvious what he did in this case coming off a knee injury. I've never been a fan of the way he handles himself in front of the microphone, off the field. It's obnoxiously irritating to me and as a 13-year NFL veteran, I don't want that in my locker room, I don't need that in my locker room. No, I don't care about what you can bring to me."
"Off the field," Christian? You cannot be serious.
You see, Terrell Owens has been arrested zero times over the course of his entire life.
It has been well-noted that he doesn't do drugs, rarely drinks, doesn't tote guns, doesn't participate in the execution of animals, doesn't drive drunk with 18- and 20-year-old females in the car (e.g., Jeff Garcia), doesn't drive over people, doesn't hit women, doesn't hit his own mother, doesn't rape people or any of the other numerous things his contemporaries have done during a 17-year career in which he has always stayed out of any trouble worth giving negative attention to.
"...I know how good of a player he is. We played against him in the Super Bowl when he was playing for Philadelphia. He broke his ankle, he rehabbed and I couldn't believe he came back and I could not believe that he played as well as he did in that game. He could have been the MVP of that Super Bowl. I want nothing to do with his attitude off the field and what he brings to your locker room."
First of all, get your facts straight.
He didn't break his ankle.
He sprained the deltoid ligament of his ankle and needed a screw to be implanted to help stabilize the joint. In addition to his ankle injury, he also fractured his fibula.
This might seem like an unnecessary nitpick but it illustrates Fauria's overall lack of knowledge regarding Owens and the things that he's been through. Fauria was also incapable of properly pronouncing the name "Terrell"—which I find to be obnoxious.
"...and you think about what does he bring into the locker room? Is this worth it if you're Pete Carroll? What if you're Matt Flynn - do you have the personality, do you have the strength of a personality to deal with a guy like Terrell Owens who might be saying all the right things, might be walking the walk for a short period of time? But eventually WE KNOW what's going to happen! Yet it's like a train-wreck. We can't help ourselves."
"Is it worth it if you're Pete Carroll?"
Christian, who's idea do you think it was to invite Owens to Seattle and then to enter contract negotiations after the future Hall of Famer put on an astonishing physical workout?
"We know what's going to happen!"?
Condescension in your tone noted—though your accusations are completely unsubstantiated.
Rely on your own pure conjecture to "know" with confidence what will happen as you blatantly ignore what players who have actually shared a locker room with Owens have had to say.
Here is what one of Owens' teammates had to say:
"...I’m ready to Vouch for…and let everyone kno how GREAT of a teammate u were in Buffalo!" -Donte Whitner
Nevertheless, lack of any and all evidence to support his claims didn't stop Fauria from making more:
"We can't wager our whole season on whether or not he'll come up with big plays or not. It's not worth it to me."
Wager a whole season?
How nonsensical do you have to be to believe that Owens has this magical power to control the fate of an NFL organization's entire season based upon the risk that he might—God forbid— A) want to be more involved in the offense, B) make a negative remark about a teammate, or C) perform an entertaining touchdown celebration?
A multibillion dollar league and a roster of 52 other men who get paid millions of dollars to perform on the field will suddenly stop reading their playbooks, forget their routes and assignments as they all self-destruct as a result of a co-worker being too honest at the podium after being poked and prodded with leading questions by the ever-impartial and unbiased media?
You can actually say that with a straight face?
"...I just don't think whether he has his hat in his hand or not - he'll be able to get out of his own way, because I haven't seen it yet. So if I'm a G.M. I just don't want to risk it. I just don't even want to throw him in there just to lets just see what happens, lets just see if the chemistry's going to work."
You "haven't seen it yet"—really?
You've been oblivious to his years in Buffalo and Cincinnati where he was a model citizen, humbly claimed not to be the No. 1 receiver on the team and took blame on his shoulders for losses in games where he was actually productive?
There's a reason why you're not a GM Christian Fauria—you use generalizations to derive your "expert analysis" and then package your statements up to be factual.
Ignore what Skip Bayless had to say in response as he supported Seattle's signing of Owens:
"The great Bill Walsh once told me that Terrell Owens has as high a football I.Q. as a receiver, as any player he ever tutored or coached in the film room."
I guess we should ignore the wisdom of Bill Walsh as well.
All the while pundits like Christian Fauria—who have no locker room experience with Owens—continue to speculate, generalize and criticize a player without bringing any facts to the table to substantiate their claims.
It's no wonder why the masses have adopted this false perception of Owens' character.
Critics only need to "sound right" to convince them to believe in fiction.
Ryan Michael is a Senior Writer for Bleacher Report. Any questions, comments or professional inquiries can be directed to his email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
He also writes for www.TerrellOwensDefense.org
Follow him on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/#!/theryanmichael