12.28.06

Whitlock : Blackball T.O.

Posted in Gridiron, Sports Journalism at 2:11 pm by

AOL Sports’ Jason Whitlock — in no way shape or form trying to draw greater attention to himself — seriously advocates that when and if the Cowboys part ways with Terrell Owens, the rest of the league should banish the wide receiver.

I know NFL owners must avoid the appearance of collusion, but why can™t commissioner Roger Goodell quietly suggest to owners that the league would be better off with T.O. involuntarily retired?

If I™m an NFL player, I™d want Owens out of the league. He is single-handedly damaging the image of the modern-day professional football player. Owens draws so much attention from ESPN that he has come to symbolize today™s pro athlete.

If the NFL is truly serious about controlling its players and preventing its players from dragging the perception of the league to NBA levels, running Owens out of the league would send a strong message to the T.O. imitators. Fifteen-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalties for taunting are fine, but T.O. sitting at home, shopping for lip gloss online and gossiping with his publicist Lil Kim would be superior.

From Owens to Larry Johnson to Chad Johnson, there are a growing number of players who are going out of their way to make controversial statements or draw attention to themselves. In order to appear young, hip and open-minded, members of the media, particularly at ESPN, are going out of their way to talk about how cute, entertaining and “refreshing” the behavior is.

I’m sure Jason knows exactly what he’s talking about when characterizing ESPN’s coverage of T.O., and his remarks are in no way related to his own contentious departure from the Worldwide Leader. Sadly, I’ve only been able to bear witness to the commentary of hip, open-minded youth culture icons like Sean Salisbury and Mike Ditka, and the words “cute” and “refreshing” don’t seem to figure in their judgements of Owens’ behavior. Perhaps my satellite dish is picking up signals from another ESPN?

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