Skip Bayless is two things for sure: A troll, and consistently inconsistent.
But for a while now, Bayless has been rather consistent about his claims regarding Terrell Owens. Many of them are hilariously and provably false (such as his claims that Owens accused Steve Mariucci of “throwing the game” against the Bears in 2001, that the aforementioned mythical incident was the “last straw” for Owens as a 49er, according to Terry Donahue during Owens’s time in San Francisco, and that Terrell Owens got into a fight with Jason Witten in 2008 after an argument with Todd Haley), but there is one that he has repeatedly made that we know is false through simple common sense.
Bayless alleges that during his time writing for the San Jose Mercury news (2001-2004), numerous teammates of Owens’s came up to him and told him that Owens was “dividing the locker room.”
The problem with this is Bayless – just like every other person on this planet – never accused Owens of “dividing” anything until 2005 (which was Owens’s 10th season in the NFL), after Owens had been suspended from the Eagles for refusing to adhere to all of the apology stipulations Andy Reid set for him following ESPN taking his answer to a question about Brett Favre completely out of context. It was only after reporters entered the Eagles’ locker room looking for teammates to tell them that they hated Owens – only for them to find that every player either said they liked him and hoped he would be back on the team, or that they didn’t want to discuss the situation and just wanted to move on and play football – that they created the, “this Eagles locker room is divided” narrative. Once Terrell Owens returned to the NFL, the media transferred this claim to one about Terrell Owens himself. It became, “Terrell Owens divided the Eagles’ locker room.” This despite the fact that he wasn’t even in the locker room anymore when they came up with this.
And of course, they retroactively applied it to San Francisco, even though nobody had ever made the claim that Terrell Owens divided the 49ers’ locker room while he was in San Francisco, nor the year after he left. They knew he had “issues” in San Francisco, but they had short memories and limited knowledge, so they just made an assumption that history of this nonsense claim must have repeated itself.
His issues in San Francisco were his controversial touchdown celebrations and the media pitching a “feud” with Steve Mariucci following his public disagreement with Mariucci for suspending him for the celebrations in Dallas in 2000. And in his last year, they claimed he “hinted” at benching Jeff Garcia for Tim Rattay when he did nothing of the sort, then fed that lie to Garcia to upset him and cause tension.
But at no point before 2005 did a single person ever say the words “Terrell Owens” and “divided” and “locker room” in the same sentence.
Oh, sure, Bayless talked about Terrell Owens all the time during this period.
Sometimes he even called him a “jerk.”
But once again, the internet proves to be the media’s worst enemy. You can revise history in people’s minds, but the archives are immune to your lazy tricks. Oh, and they never lie.