It’s that time of year again. It’s the time of year where Terrell Owens gets screwed by certain Hall of Fame voters (not to name any names, but *cough* Clark Judge, Ron Borges, Jason Cole *cough*). The same people who lied about him since 2000 will once again refuse to vote for him based on those lies about him that they created.
What are those lies, you ask? Try every negative thing you think he ever said or did; myths which emanated from the fact that he twice went to the middle of Texas Stadium and stood on the star after scoring touchdowns in week 4 of the 2000 season (the first of which he did after asking for permission before the game from wide receivers coach, George Stewart).
What lies? These lies:
“Terrell Owens threw Donovan McNabb under the bus.”
There are two things people think Owens said that they consider to have been throwing McNabb under the bus. He said neither of these things the media claimed he did.
First, people think Owens accused McNabb of getting tired in the Super Bowl (or even vomiting). This is false. This was Hank Fraley and Freddie Mitchell. This became falsely attributed to Owens because later on, Owens did an interview with Len Pasquarelli, where he took a shot at the media for criticizing him for trying to play in the Super Bowl after he broke his leg. Pasquarelli asked Owens about this criticism, and Owens made a reference to the Fraley/Mitchell comments to note the irony of the media criticizing Owens before the game for supposedly hurting his team by not being physically ready to play in the game, when after the game, the story about a player getting tired turned out to center around the team’s other star player.
When the media interpreted this as a shot at McNabb, Owens consistently denied that it was. This fell on deaf ears.
The second and final time people think Owens threw McNabb under the bus while they were teammates was when he did an interview with Graham Bensinger and agreed with Michael Irvin’s assessment that the Eagles would be in a better situation with Brett Favre as their quarterback. What was conveniently glossed over was that the very question before that, Owens was asked what he made of the Eagles’ 4-3 start, and he stated that if McNabb wasn’t injured, the Eagles’ record would be better. As it turns out, Owens was only asked about Irvin’s comments on ESPN as a follow up question after he had brought up McNabb’s injury being largely responsible for their record being disappointing. Once again, this was clearly not a shot at McNabb.
And once again, Owens denied that he was taking a shot at McNabb in this interview. It once again fell on deaf ears.
“Terrell Owens threw Jeff Garcia under the bus.”
The infamous Playboy interview in which Owens implied that he thought Garcia was gay came in 2004, when the two were no longer teammates. How can you be a “bad teammate” for “taking a shot” at a guy who isn’t even your teammate? The answer is, of course, you can’t. If Owens hurt the Cleveland Browns by implying Garcia was gay, that only helped the Eagles. Hell, the Eagles actually beat the Browns during their regular season meeting. Maybe Owens helped his team in an intangible way there, in addition to all his touchdown scoring! Even more reason to put him in the Hall of Fame!
During Owens’s final year with the 49ers, the media did create awkward tension between the two when they lied about a perfectly politically correct response Owens gave when they asked him if he thought it was time to consider a quarterback change after a blowout loss to the Vikings in which Garcia had been benched for Tim Rattay.
Owens said that it wasn’t his decision to make, noted that Rattay played well, and said that no matter who was in at quarterback, he was going to catch the ball for him.
They instead fed Garcia their twisted version of what Owens said, claiming Owens had “hinted at” a quarterback change (when it was the reporter who hinted at it, and Owens downplaying it with a politically correct response), upsetting Garcia, and causing Garcia to fire back in the process with a cryptic, “we can not allow this sickness to spread” response.
As tennis legend Roger Federer once described it when the media tried to do the same with he and fellow tennis player Bernard Tomic, “I guess only a small part got taken out of it. It’s a bit out of context, in my opinion. Then you (media) feed it to a player, he reacts, might be frustrated, and then he goes even further.”
“He accused Tony Romo of throwing too much to Jason Witten.”
The only one who publicly did this was ESPN’s Ed Werder via “anonymous source.” If Owens did say this, he said it in private; exactly as he’s supposed to. There is nothing wrong with a player talking in private with a coach about his frustration with his role. Coaches explicitly tell players to do exactly this, rather than venting to the media.
And does anybody really think skill position players all over the league aren’t chatting behind the scenes with their buddies about wanting the ball more, complaining that the quarterback missed them or the coaches aren’t giving them enough opportunities? How clueless/naive do you have to be to think this is newsworthy or worthy of criticism?
Picture this unlikely scenario:
Wide Receiver 474 to a teammate: “Maaaaaan…I was open all game and he never even looked my way. He kept checkin’ it down.”
If you think this isn’t what goes on in every single locker room at every level of football, you have never experienced being a member of the human race.