Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens made their debut on The Daily Line last night and Owens fired a full barrage at Brett Favre and his allergic reaction to training camp. He didn’t stop there, as he also discussed the sports media’s hypocritical pandering to him.
"Had it been one of (Ochocinco or I) doing some of the same things, pulling these stunts that Brett Favre has done the last two or three years, then we would be labeled ‘not a team player’, selfish,” Owens explained.
A lot of times Terrell Owens just shoots off at the mouth, but in this instance he is 100 percent correct. For some reason over the last few years Brett Favre has been given a free pass for his aversion to practice, teammates and coaches.
I firmly believe that Favre, not Owens, has been the biggest NFL diva over the last decade.
But while Owens has been vilified and demonized Favre gets to make Sears commercials poking fun at the situation. Some would say Favre gets a pass because of his down home Mississippi charm. Bull, Owens himself has his own ‘southern boy charm.’
Just like Favre, Owens is engaging, a great and willing interview, and he almost always speaks candidly. Yet Owens hasn’t gotten a pass in the least.
Recently Jason Cole of Yahoo! reported an unnamed Vikings’ player had told him that Favre had no respect for Childress. Team meetings ensued and Favre addressed the media to assuage the situation. And that was that, no criticism, in fact if anything many in the media believed that Favre was right.
Now imagine if that report surfaced about Terrell Owens or Chad Ochocinco. I guarantee the issue would not be dead and that media members would still be pelting Marvin Lewis, Owens, Ochocinco and other teammates about it constantly, asking about how the issue distracts the team.
With Favre, he issues a statement, and it’s a dead issue.
Now if it were just Favre’s aversion to Vikings' Head Coach Brad Childress I wouldn’t believe Favre’s diva act to be worse that Owens. It's more than that.
It’s that back in Green Bay he purposely avoided Aaron Rodgers and younger teammates. It is that he complained and almost retired when the Packers hired Mike McCarthy instead of Favre's friend Steve Mariucci. It was that with the Jets, Favre requested and was given private changing quarters away from the rest of the team.
And don’t get me started on the whole retirement, un-retirement, retirement, un-retirement thing.
Now, Owens may not be the graybeard that Favre is but he is no spring chicken. Owens plays a far more athletically demanding position than Favre, and in my eyes his longevity at that position is just as remarkable as Favre’s.
Yet Owens, at the age of 36 and entering his 15th year in the NFL still understands the values and merits of training camp, “these are times where you want your guys to be in camp, bonding with your teammates, learning the plays, going through the whole team concept just like everybody else, And now it's like, yeah, (Favre) set himself above team standards."
Owens is absolutely correct again; Favre is blatantly putting his own interests in front of the teams. This isn’t the first time either, Favre tried to do it with Green Bay and they shipped him out of town. At the time the Packers were demonized. I remember when the Eagles shipped Owens out of town for putting himself above the team, and the Eagles were portrayed as saints.
Even recently it was reported out of the San Francisco 49ers camp that team captain Vernon Davis got into a heated argument with receiver Michael Crabtree due to Crabtree’s disrespect, blatant dislike and poor attitude about training camp. To many in the media, this was merely affirmation that Crabtree is the diva that he was rumored to be coming out of Texas Tech.
However when it took three of Brett Favre’s teammates traveling to his home at Hattiesburg, Mississippi to drag Favre to training camp people just said, “Favre being Favre.”
Now this article is not arguing that Terrell Owens is a saint, he’s not. He signed a deal with the Eagles that the NFLPA told him not to, then tried to force a new one only a year later. He has questioned Jeff Garcia’s sexuality, yelled at coaches on the sideline and more.
Yet on the same token Owens is a great teammate in ways that Favre is not.
He works extra hours before and after practice with the no-name wide receivers to make them better (ask Miles Austin), practices every single day like a demon and makes himself available for any reason to any of his teammates.
Can you imagine Owens asking for separate changing quarters from his teammates? No. Can you imagine Owens refusing to speak to his teammates because of their age or position? No. Can you imagine Terrell Owens ever skipping training camp over a reason not related to contract negotiations? No.
In case you were wondering, the answer to all those questions when related to Brett Favre is a yes.
And this media pandering to Favre and demonizing of Owens doesn’t just extend to off the field, it happens when discussing their play on the field as well.
While Owens and Favre are legendary players they both have one glaring weakness in their games. Owens drops too many balls and Favre throws too many picks.
With Favre and his ill-advised interceptions, the phrase “Favre being Favre” is constantly evoked to defend him. When Owens drops a pass, it’s shown on every highlight show and discussed ad nauseum.
So why does Owens get toasted at every turn while Favre constantly gets a pass? Some would say it’s Owens' need for attention, the VH1 reality TV shows, the whole “sit-ups in the driveway” incident, crying, “That’s my quarterback,” and the list goes on.
Fair enough but how is Favre not guilty of being a media glutton?
In an excellent Men’s Journal article on Favre and his agent, Bus Cook, aspects of Favre’s maddening need for media attention became apparent.
“Brett talked to **** Ed Werder at ESPN, says he needs ankle surgery. Now why did he do that? I’ve got Childress calling. I’ve got reporters calling all damn morning. ****, why does he have to be such a **** drama queen? Play, don’t play, ****, people are getting sick of it. I’m getting sick of it! Why does he have to talk to these people?” bemoaned Cook.
“Why?” Bus Cook you ask? Because your client is a media glutton the likes of which not even Terrell Owens can come close too.
Today Favre made an appearance on Sirius NFL Radio, where he said "I quietly, I thought quietly, tried to make my decision. I had surgery about a month before camp and the media started camping out at the gate. I never asked them to come. I never asked them to talk about it."
Is Favre just obfuscating the truth or conveniently forgetting it? Not sure, did Bus Cook ripping him a new one for his media courtship not resonate? Sounds like a diva to me.
So again why does Favre get a pass?
Some would also say it is because Favre is easily one of the best quarterbacks of all time, that the fans and media tolerate his diva-side because he is just so much fun to watch.
And what is Owens? Chopped liver? Owens is also easily a future Hall of Famer, a guy whose production during his 15 years in the NFL is almost peerless. Yet again, Owens does not get the pass Favre does.
Again this is not a defense of Owens, merely a point that if the media is going to demonize one they have to demonize the other.
That they don’t, makes many in the media come across as hypocrites, simple as that.
So then another question comes to mind about why Favre has been given safe passage by the media and Owens swims upstream, a question whose answer might be unsettling.
Why does a white future Hall of Fame quarterback with a blatant litany of team-killing activities get a pass in the media while a black future Hall of Fame wide receiver gets demonized for the same thing?
Is it as simple as black and white?
Honestly I feel completely unqualified to answer that question.
But the question still bugs me.
*Quotes of Owen’s appearance from The Daily Line and Favre's appearance on NFL Sirius Radio first appeared in ProFootballTalk.com