Thanks to the Web, you, too, can peek into T.O.'s parallel universe

August 21, 2005|By PETER SCHMUCK

THERE IS A great deal of angst in the world of journalism about the possibility that the Internet will eventually make an entire generation of newspaper writers and editors obsolete, but I have good news.

I've recently become a regular reader of a couple of high-profile athlete Web sites and I am here to tell you that you still need me.

Here's a sample of the insightful prose you'll get if you log on to terrell owens.com:

Terrell will return to camp and continue to display the work ethic, and on-the-field dedication that has made him one of the world's most elite athletes. For you the fan, and your continued support in the most difficult of times, Terrell plans to reward you with a season for the ages. Where small men succumb, great men overcome!

I have to admit, that's inspiring. I almost forgot that T.O. is a spoiled toddler who doesn't have the integrity to honor the contract he signed just a year ago, and whose disrespect for the game and his fellow players has become legendary.

Admittedly, these are difficult times for the Eagles and their fans. Owens has been sniping at coach Andy Reid and quarterback Donovan McNabb, though I still think this is an improvement over last August, when T.O. was too busy hinting that his previous quarterback, Jeff Garcia, was gay than to find time to alienate his current teammates.

Owens has blasted McNabb for being a "hypocrite" -- which, for all we know, T.O. might think has something to do with sexual orientation -- but the level of rhetoric has been relatively muted. I believe the thing that bothered him the most during his volatile early days of training camp was that one of the Eagles coaches still hadn't figured out that the accent goes on the first syllable of his first name.

Or the second. I forget.

The thing that bothers me the most is that the message to fans on Owens' Web site is in the third person, and not in a way that suggests that Owens is just an arrogant foof who refers to himself by his entire name instead of a personal pronoun like "I" or "me."

Peter Schmuck finds that offensive.

No, it's clear that the personal message that Owens is posting for fans is not a personal message at all, but something composed by one of his handlers -- probably his personal publicist Kim Ethridge. Here's another sample:

Terrell only asks what every other worker in America asks for, respect and dignity.

Of course, everybody can identify with that, especially all the other workers in America who earned $9.16 million last year and don't think it was enough.

Do these people -- and by "these people" I mean obnoxious agent Drew Rosenhaus, Ethridge and whoever else is part of the worst PR machine in the history of player representation -- really believe that they can sell blue-collar Philly fans on the ridiculous notion that T.O. is representing them by standing up to the man?

(That raises an interesting hypothetical question: Is it possible to insult the intelligence of the average Eagles fan if that level of intelligence is not detectable by any standard system of measurement?)

I know this sounds crazy, but Owens almost makes pioneer superstar Web master Barry Bonds look like a sympathetic character.

Bonds, at least, tries to give the impression that he really writes the periodic message to fans that he posts on barrybonds.com, though last week's "Barry's Journal" entry spent so much time flogging personalized Barry Bonds merchandise, I thought he was going to reach right out of the computer and wrestle away my Visa card.

Two weeks ago things didn't look too promising, but the past 10 days my rehab has taken a turn for the better. My strength and endurance have increased and my knee is feeling much better. I have been playing catch and in the next few weeks I hope to be in the cage doing some hitting. There is a good possibility that I could be back in September with the team, but, if not, I will definitely be in the 2006 lineup.

Now that we know that he either will or won't be back this year, we can get on to the more important stuff:

I have started a new section in my e-store called the Barry Bonds Clubhouse Collection. This is a series of game-used, game-issued and other unique items that come from my personal storage facility where I keep everything I have collected throughout my career. Contrary to all the fake and forged products out there in the market that claim to be from me, the truth is that I have kept the majority of all my game-used equipment from my career.

Funny, he never mentioned having a personal storage facility during the BALCO investigation.

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