We find yet another article desperately using the name Terrell Owens to create a headline, and predictably, another instance where "hyperbolistic sensationalism" is utilized in a poor attempt to defame a man's character without providing any kind of substantiation.
The premise of the article could be summarized simply as, "The Failures of Andy Reid."
That didn't, however, prevent the writer from taking a few shots in T.O.'s direction.
The article begins by stating that, "It began with the acquisition of Terrell Owens."
It's as if acquiring the second most productive receiver in the history of the National Football League is a bad thing—never mind that Owens became the most productive receiver in the 79-year history of the franchise.
"Reid sought out a handful of narcissists of the worst possible sort: Smart enough to stay out of jail and out of the papers; but narcissists who ultimately could not resist the pull of their selfishness. No one was more selfish than T.O."
Notice how being "smart enough to stay out of jail" was quickly glossed over and replaced with an emphasis focused upon narcissism. Point being: Andy Reid should be criticized for signing a player like Owens who has never been arrested a single time in his entire life, while we should excuse other coaches around the league who continue to draft, sign and support players who have actually been "convicted" of serious crimes.
As we all know, "narcissism" is the worst crime of all.
I pay particular attention to the statement, "No one was more selfish than T.O."
I mean, really?
Are we talking about the same T.O., who against doctor's orders, signed legal waivers so that he would be able to compete in Super Bowl XXXIX and risked his career on what was essentially a broken leg in an effort to help his team win a championship?
We're talking about a man who torched Bill Belichick's infamous "Spygate defense" by catching nine passes for 122 yards on one leg—selfish indeed.
"Owens arrived with the baggage of excessive celebrations, a history of discontent with his bosses and questioning the sexual orientation of a teammate."
Of course, because "excessive celebrations" coming from one of the greatest touchdown-production machines far outweighs the benefit of getting in the end zone frequently—dancing with pom poms and pulling out Sharpies must have been something to be seriously concerned about.
Now here is some real press that the media conveniently decides to ignore mentioning whenever they attempt to take a shot at Owens for his "excessive touchdown celebrations".
"Today at the San Francisco 49ers Academy, wide receiver Terrell Owens is bringing his bold personality and the "AUTOgraphs for Education" program to East Palo Alto youth. The program, which kicked off earlier this summer with Owens' help in Atlanta, enlists the support of sports figures to deliver school supplies and raise funds for schools and community education groups across the country."
That's right, we're talking about T.O. and the "baggage" he brought to Philadelphia after living such a distracting "criminal-free" career in San Francisco. To get further into the depths of his horrible character, look no further than the following quotes from Owens at the aforementioned charity event.
"I have really enjoyed working with Sharpie to make a difference for kids with the Sharpie Metallic AUTOgraphs for Education program...I am so glad to have been able to make a difference and now bring the program full circle to impact kids in the Bay Area." -Terrell Owens
But I'll move on...
"History of discontent with his bosses" was another point mentioned in the article.
Then let's look at, "questioning the sexual orientation of a teammate," as we ignore the obvious fact that Playboy brought up the question to Owens, not the other way around.
One would think that they must have had a reason for bringing up the question in the first place, but no, it must be T.O.'s fault for insinuating that Jeff Garcia might be homosexual.
What is more homophobic: Thinking someone might be homosexual or the media making it seems as though being homosexual is a bad thing to "out someone" for?
Most ignore Owens' actual quotes pertaining to this issue:
"My thing was I didn't say that he was gay. Like I said, the conversation and interview was loose and from my knowledge I'm not sure if Jeff is gay or not." -Terrell Owens in response to the Playboy interview.
Then they forget about Owens' non-homophobic remarks made to Playboy in that same interview:
"If it was a guy who was helping us win ball games, hey, I'd have no problem with it. He can do what he wants to do outside of my everyday life." -Terrell Owens
Now that we've addressed those accusations, lets delve more into the Evils of Terrell Owens from the article.
"Owens played ferociously until it became clear to Owens and agent Drew Rosenhaus that the Eagles would not extend his contract; then, Owens began acting out, allowing Reid his first chance to mishandle a situation involving a high-maintenance, dysfunctional personality.
It devolved into Reid suspending perhaps the most talented offensive player the franchise had ever seen, then releasing him after the season."
"Extend his contract," meaning that this player you've attempted to paint as selfish actually wanted to stay and contribute to the franchise for a long period of time?
One thing can't be denied: The Eagles were 4-3 with Owens, 2-7 without him in 2005.
At his record-setting pace, Owens would have put up 107 receptions for 1,744 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Andy Reid's fault was certainly not in signing a player who contributed so much to the teams' chances of winning, it was in suspending his most productive player, which ended up resulting in the destruction of the 2005 Philadelphia Eagles' chances of winning and then releasing Owens, which ended up holding back the teams' chances of winning in 2006.
So if you're going to make a point, try to make it valid by providing substantiation.
The myth of Terrell Owens' "unquantifiable and unsubstantiated negative aura" shouldn't be this easy to debunk, but when a writer relies on pure conjecture and assumptions in an attempt to defame someone's character, it shouldn't surprise anyone when there is actual evidence to the contrary.
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