Cris Carter's new book "Going Deep" touches on a number of subjects, not the least of which include a plethora of derogatory remarks made about Terrell Owens.
Par for the course many may think, but I'm not the slightest bit amused.
It's not as if the major media outlets don't already provide enough Anti-T.O. fodder for the masses to blindly gobble up like sheep.
Carter is now known for his work as a television analyst and unfortunately, his erroneous commentary pertaining to Owens needs to be set straight.
Allow me to address a few excerpts from his new book, posted by ESPN.
Owens was still miffed about a postgame interview I'd done after the 49ers beat us in a playoff game back in 1998..."I can understand if it was Jerry out there," I said that day. "But those other guys doing that doesn't make any sense."
The book notes that when meeting Carter at a charity basketball game in 2000, Owens allegedly smirked and lowered his gaze at him in response to the slighting referenced above.
Even if this story is true, so what?
Carter even admits to casting the first stone.
When you directly insult a player who had just contributed to defeating you in the postseason, it's only sensible to assume that a smirk may be coming your way the next time you meet him in person.
Carter continued, only this time seeing fit to comment on Owens' childhood:
He didn't know his father lived across the street from him until he was eleven and that was only because Owens had befriended a girl who turned out to be his half sister. Other kids also teased Owens because of his skinny physique and dark complexion. In other words, this wasn't a well-adjusted child who was destined to play nice with others once he grew up.
Talk about taking something extremely personal and using it as a platform to justify your own negative assumption about the development of a man's character.
It has been well documented that Owens had a difficult childhood.
Still, Carter felt it appropriate to drudge that up for the purpose of stating that Owens "...wasn't a well-adjusted child who was destined to play nice with others once he grew up."
That's a pretty deep and negative conclusion based upon the personal hardships of a man Carter doesn't even know.
For starters, there are legions of teammates who have come out to vigorously defend Owens' character.
The commentary of a man who has never shared a locker-room with Owens, who also stated he "didn't need to make nice with him," is the furthest thing from a reputable source on the subject.
In fact, the most noteworthy aspect of Owens's background wasn't his brutal experience with loneliness and poverty. It was his relentless desire to be a celebrity. When he was a young pro, you'd hear stories about Owens perfecting his dance moves and chiseling his body in the 49ers weight room during late-night workout sessions. He knew exactly how he wanted to address the world once the spotlight eventually found him.
So we go from using Owens' tough childhood as a tool to establish your own justification for insulting his moral character to now dismissing the noteworthiness of Owens' personal experiences in order to emphasize your own self-proclamations regarding his alleged desire to "be a celebrity."
Practicing dance moves and working hard in the gym are hardly traits attributed solely to Owens.
Instead, Carter is taking Owens' well-documented history of showmanship and assuming his hard work in the gym was done more so for the purpose of seeking the spotlight than for the purpose of increasing his ability to perform on the field to the point in which 15,935 yards left him the second leading receiver in NFL history.
But when Owens scored 2 touchdowns during an early-season win at Dallas, what I saw wasn't a player having a good time. Instead, it was a receiver crossing a line in ways that could've touched off a brawl.
When you comment regarding the relative merits of "crossing the line," it's really fair to look at both sides of the equation. Owens' first trip to the center of Texas Stadium was done to fulfill a promise to the team pastor, where Owens wanted to look heavenward and show his respect for God.
You could call it an outlandish display of positive intent, but the origins of what motivated Owens to do it in the first place remain unknown to most and/or quickly discarded otherwise.
After Owens' first trip to the star, you saw no finger pointing, no negative gestures towards any members of the Dallas Cowboys or their fans.
It's important to remember that.
Conversely, after scoring a touchdown in retaliation, Emmitt Smith went out of his way to point his finger directly at Owens before slamming the football down on the star in his own effort to make a point.
Owens' second trip to the star was in response to Smith's personal, negative expressions directed toward him personally.
Carter claimed that Owens crossed the line "in ways that could've touched off a brawl."
This is true and actually happened as a result of another player's immaturity.
George Teague responded to Owens' second touchdown celebration by physically attacking him after the play.
Owens did not reciprocate such behavior.
Considering the play was already over, Teague's actions warranted his immediate ejection from the game. Owens on the other hand was not ejected from the game because his infraction was minor in comparison to Teague's.
What's worse: An outlandish touchdown celebration or physically attacking another man from behind after the whistle was blown?
That kind of behavior lands you in jail in the real world.
If another man displays himself in a manner that upsets you, there is no legal justification for physically attacking him in response.
Fans and commentators can paint Teague's actions as a heroic defense of the Cowboys pride, but it doesn't change the negative nature of his actions which clearly overshadow anything Owens has ever been accused of doing.
Carter continued with his negative proclamations:
Meanwhile, the 49ers—the most storied franchise of the previous two decades—were about to be placed in the hands of a destructive force.
It's amazing to note how incredibly easy it is to hurl the most negative of accusations T.O.'s way without anyone even raising an eyebrow.
Reliance on generalities enables so-called analysts to insult athletes without ever having to provide even an ounce of substance to prove it.
Most don't even know how to quantify the term "destructive force," but hey, it sounds like it fits the bill so the tradition has been to just roll with it right?
They media excels at delivering content that "sounds right" enough to portray a strong case in their favor, but they also conveniently fail to invite capable minds of joining their television programs set to set the records straight.
This "persona of T.O." is left, intentionally, up in the air as a professed legitimate truth relied on like a crutch whenever ratings need to be generated. When written in print, one is entitled to exclude the facts needed to disprove the foundation-less opinions being blindly accepted in the eyes of the credulous masses.
It's a shame because Carter was a far better player than he is an analyst.
He has every right to share his opinion—only in this instance, it's not a very accurate portrayal of reality.
This article is also featured on www.blindsidefootball.com.
Ryan Michael is a Senior Writer for Bleacher Report and Featured Writer for www.blindsidefootball.com.
Any questions, comments or professional inquiries can be directed to his email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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