It sure doesn't take much for a quote about Terrell Owens to be taken out of context, blown out of proportion and then exploited to defame his character.
Has this not become the status quo?
Sensationalism is the name of the game; a game the mass media has been playing for years.
“Terrell Owens is always — he was at our practice facility this summer, begging coaches for a 10-day contract." -Blake Griffin
Predictably, it didn't take long for various media outlets (h/t profootballtalk) to take a quote made in passing and turn it into a headline fabricated to portray Owens in a negative light.
"Terrell Owens begged the Clippers to sign him" spread across the internet.
"Did T.O. have game?" Patrick asked.
Griffin— "He can play a little bit."
Coming from a player of Griffin's caliber, I'd take that as praise.
Only it wasn't Griffin's praise of Owens' basketball skills that made headlines—no surprise there.
Griffin's comment about "begging" for a contract was made so quickly, with such jest that Patrick immediately shifted the subject to Tony Gonzalez's past experience with playing basketball.
Think about it — if "T.O. begs for an NBA contract" was an actual headline to be taken seriously, don't you think Patrick would have given it more than 30 seconds of air time?
Common sense stands in opposition to such sensationalism, but that's never stopped the media before.
This recurring pattern of the media attempting to portray Owens as a "desperate beggar" is nothing new.
Earlier this season when the New York Jets were spread so thin at the wide receiver position that they moved cornerback Antonio Cromartie to play offense, Owens was similarly criticized for "begging" on Twitter to contribute to a professional sports organization.
"Hey JETS!!! I'm available! I'm ready, willing & able! Call my agent @jordanwoy & let's make it happen." -Terrell Owens
The media cried "begging" when in fact, Owens logically knew that he could contribute more to one of the weakest passing offenses in the league than defensive backs converted to quick-patch wide receivers. (via profootballtalk)
I’ve read a lot of tweets and everybody’s saying that I’m desperate, I’m begging for a job...But it’s not begging for a job when you know you can still play at a high level, given the opportunity. When you have a defensive back playing offense and running routes, then I think that’s more desperate than my actual tweet itself. -Terrell Owens
Reality has passed the naysayers by.
Owens remains a physically capable, humbled, hard-working athlete with a Hall of Fame resume and a willingness to work hard to earn the opportunity to help "contribute" to any organization willing to give him the opportunity.
He has expressed interest in helping contribute to NFL teams like the New York Jets.
And his playful remarks about wanting to play in the NBA (Owens is known for being a huge professional basketball fan) have been blown out of proportion via a quote made by someone not named Terrell Owens himself.
The bottom line?
Crucify the man for tweeting interest in still playing the sport he loves. Label him a "beggar" as a result of one sentence that was clearly taken out of context.
Anything they can do to make a headline out of the Terrell Owens brand-name.
Ironic that the media has accused Owens for years for craving the spotlight. Yet for years, all I've seen is the media making headlines out of non-headlines.
"Hyperbolistic sensationalism," you heard it here first. Consider the term coined.
It's just a shame that more people don't stand up to point out the obvious.
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