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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

T.O. Perspectives: ESPN And The Downfall Of A Crazy Man

Thanks to my boyfriend, I have become interested in football. More specifically, the Philadelphia Eagles. This means I am very well acquainted with the egomaniac named Terrell Owens. I have been completely captivated by this crazy story.

Today I finally read a column that discusses some of the issues I have been interested in as a dorky student of communications and the media. Specifically, the role media has played in this particular case. If there's one theme that keeps recurring with T.O., it's the addition of ESPN into the equation. ESPN interviewers, talk show hosts, analysts, and "journalists" have been active participants in the story, often fanning the flames. Michael Irvin is T.O.'s best buddy. Stephen A. Smith, who I think is somehow related by marriage to Owens, is still commenting on the situation like he's an impartial party. Some intern kid is able to ask T.O. just the right questions so he can sabotage his career (not hard to do considering he's a nutcase). And then Suzy Kolber, wearing a most unfortunate pink jacket with buckled epaulettes, spreads locker room gossip and basically drives inaccurate reports from all media outlets on Sunday.

ESPN gave this disturbed individual a celebratory forum, giving him all the rope he needed to hang himself. They're not guilty of ruining the Eagles' season or T.O.'s career. Only T.O. is culpable for that. But they've helped him in the way our celebrity spin machines do. Build up the hype, identify controversy, hype that up, then joyfully report the downfall.

This article's best quote: "Michael Irvin is to journalism what Liberace was to quantum physics." "Analysts" like Michael Irvin, the ultimate primadonna enabler, act as confidants to the player and then report those conversations, taking sides no rational person would be able to defend. You can't get involved in a story like that and then pretend you're an objective journalist when Steve Young asks you what you'd do in T.O.'s situation. He should stick to "acting" and watching TV with Peyton Manning.

Don't get me wrong. T.O. is out because T.O. is a selfish ass who can't shut up to save his soul (or career). But boy oh boy, ESPN sure helped him shorten his lifespan as an Eagle. And since they're the only ones benefiting from the situation right now, maybe T.O. should ask them to replace his missing salary.

Writing about sports other than figure skating or gymnastics on my blog...I really have been ruined by love.


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