Hey Terrell Owens and Gilbert Arenas! Shut Up and Play

Ben RosenbaumContributor IOctober 14, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS - SEPTEMBER 02:  Terrell Owens #81  of the Cincinnati Bengals watches from the sidelines during the NFL preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 2, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Every sport has them.  The primadonnas, the self-proclaimed superstars, and the adolescents in a grown man's body. 

But when it comes to Terrell Owens and Gilbert Arenas, these two take the cake.  Their recent actions have really propelled them into the Hall of Fame of Spoiled Athletes. Not like they needed anything else on their resumes.

Let us start with the most recent offender: Mr. Arenas. 

In the Wizards' preseason home opener, Arenas complained to head coach Flip Saunders that he should not play because his knee was beginning to bother him.  Saunders, wanting to keep his All-Star point guard healthy, decided to sit Arenas. 

That should have been the end of that story.  Nothing more needed to be said.  Was it though?


Arenas was so proud of himself he couldn't wait to announce that it was all a big scam.  Arenas, when asked about his knee, said that there was in fact no injury at all.  He lied to Saunders so teammate Nick Young could get more playing time.

At first glance it seems like a pretty noble act.  A superstar player taking a seat in preseason so another player can get a shot.  But, why lie? 

Why not go to Saunders and say: "Hey coach, Nick has been looking really good lately.  How about giving him some more playing time?"

I guess that isn't enough fun for the fun-loving Arenas.  The reason why I see this as a huge problem is not just because he faked an injury and lied about it to his coach.  It is because here is a player who just finished serving a year-long suspension for bringing a gun into a locker room.  He is returning to a team that has stuck by him for almost his entire career. 

However, you could get the sense that the Washington Wizards are reaching their limits with their "court-jester."  After signing the $111 million contract in 2008, Arenas had inconsistent play at the start of the 2009 season, even setting a team record for most turnovers in a game. 

Then of course came the guns in the locker room and the full year suspension.  Still the Wizards stood by him.  But, with this most recent fiasco, who knows how much the team is willing to put up with from Arenas.  Especially with rookie phenom John Wall now running the offense.

From the hard-court to the hard-headed: Bengals wide-receiver Terrell Owens has begun to shoot off his mouth again.  Owens recently said that his $2 million contract is like playing for free (If he thinks he is playing for free, I'll gladly take his check).

Owens has also said that he has tried to make suggestions to help improve the Bengals' offense, but the Bengals have simply ignored him.

I have to say, this is the most severe case of blabber-mouth I have ever seen.  For a while I was hoping his case was cured when no teams showed any interest in the 36-year-old receiver. 

Here is a player who is lucky to even be in his situation, yet complains about it.  The Bengals took a chance on Owens after their preferred choice, Antonio Bryant, was having injury trouble. 

If Owens would have just been able to keep his mouth shut for this season and play well, I am sure the Bengals would have been more than happy to give him a bigger contract. Especially with Owens putting up big time numbers.  T.O. went for 222 yards against Tampa Bay, and then went over 100 against the Browns. 

Would Johnny Unitas ever have complained? Would Jerry Rice?  Bill Russell?  How about Cal Ripken?

No. The answer is no.

This doesn't mean that these two are the only two with behavior and attitude problems.  I could have talked about LeBron and his hour-long special, or Favre with his retiring and un-retiring, or even Tiger with his obvious issues. 

These self-centered athletes are everywhere, and it is a epidemic.  More and more athletes, it seems, are more concerned with the name on the back of their jersey than the city they represent.  This could have been about anyone of them.

But, for the meantime, Mr. Owens and Mr. Arenas should do us all a favor: Just shut up and play!