Though I’m hopeful this will be the last Terrell Owens-related entry here for at least a day, I thought I’d share the following quotes from Newsday’s Jon Heyman (in Sunday’s paper) and the NY Times’ William Rhoden (writing on Saturday).
It’s easy to see why the Eagles are acting spitefully. But the right thing to do is to release Owens. They were fine with him when he played superbly in the Super Bowl on a broken leg and while Owens is no team man, there’s no evidence he did anything to warrant a unilaterally-imposed $800,000 suspension and subsequent deactivation.
The ultra-weak NFL Players Association has a winning case here … if only it can take time out from massaging Paul Tagliabue’s feet.
Owens may well be everything he has been called: self-centered for his touchdown celebrations; divisive for chiding his quarterback, Donovan McNabb; and disrespectful for criticizing the Eagles organization.
He is, however, also a member of the National Football League Players Association. If the union has any pride – or guts – left, Owens will fly again and play again this season. But I’m not sure that the association, under Gene Upshaw, has much pride or fortitude left.
As bold and brave as they are on Sunday, N.F.L. players are weak when it comes to standing up and protecting their own Monday through Saturday. And how can they? They play under a system that offers no security and little protection.
If the union lets Philadelphia get away with this, Upshaw should decertify his association, once and for all, and focus his energies on throwing the union’s annual Super Bowl party.
Baseball’s union would never – NEVER – allow one of its players to be publicly flogged the way the Eagles are flogging Owens. Say what you will about Donald Fehr, but baseball’s owners think three or four times before they take on the union he runs.
Football owners don’t give it a second thought. Teams cut players with impunity. They bring them in, kick them out, manipulate them like puppets and keep them ever grateful.
This is what Owens, whether he intended to or not, is railing against: a contractual system that leaves the players in the most consistently brutal team sport with the least protection.