Act like a baby and get a raise

March 19, 2006|By PETER SCHMUCK

I've read a lot of parenting books over the years - not that you'd know it from all of the Redskins stuff around the house - and I can't remember any of them postulating that the best way to deal with repeated bad behavior is to reward it with an extra $5 million.

Obviously, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and I don't have the same taste in self-help literature, because that's exactly what he did when he signed superstar toddler Terrell Owens to a three-year contract yesterday.

The deal, the terms of which were reported by ESPN.com at least four or five minutes before anybody else, calls for Owens to receive up to $25 million over the next three seasons, including $11 million in roster bonuses. If he had behaved himself and remained under the long-term deal he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles two years ago, he would have received about $20 million over the same period.

Note to self: Go to work tomorrow and cuss out the boss.

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that "America's Team" is sending a mixed message to America's kids. It's not the first time a high-profile professional sports team has unabashedly rewarded the poor behavior of a superstar athlete. Heck, it wasn't even the first time last week.

The San Francisco Giants confirmed Tuesday that they will go ahead with plans for an "appropriate" celebration if and when the allegedly anabolically enhanced Barry Bonds passes Babe Ruth on the all-time home run list.

T.O. was suspended for four games and benched for the remainder of the 2005 season for conduct detrimental to the Eagles' organization. That conduct apparently was not the least bit detrimental to Owens' earning potential with the Cowboys, even though he was once NFL Public Enemy No. 1 in Dallas after twice celebrating a touchdown catch by running to midfield and posing on the Cowboys' star logo at Texas Stadium.

That was back when T.O. was a member of the San Francisco 49ers, and it was also back when the Cowboys knew the right way to reward bad behavior. During the second touchdown celebration, Dallas safety George Teague sprinted onto the field and slammed Owens to the ground.

Now, that's what I call good parenting.

The resident Redskins fan, by the way, is convinced that Patrick Ramsey is the perfect guy to lead the Jets to the promised land. I guess spending six years on the 'Skins' season-ticket waiting list has addled his brain.

The next time Gary Williams says his team doesn't want to play in the NIT, I think they ought to take his word for it.

The top-seeded Terps compounded the indignity of missing the NCAA tournament for the second straight year with yesterday's three-point loss to Manhattan at Comcast Center.

That's what happens when one team (yes, they're really called the Jaspers) has everything to gain by beating an opponent from a major conference, and the other team would rather be on spring break - along with all of the students who didn't show up for yesterday's game.

This probably isn't the best time to say this, but I think Williams has gotten a bad rap this season. He lost one of his top starters early on, yet still went on to win 19 games and make a marginal case for a berth in the Big Dance.

I suppose it should be viewed as a backhanded tribute to the winning tradition Williams has built in College Park that a 19-win season would generate such angst among the Terrapins faithful.

Former Sun reporter Buster Olney, now a senior writer at ESPN Magazine, made an interesting point in one of his recent online postings, warning that if baseball commissioner Bud Selig orders a truly comprehensive investigation into the sport's steroid mess, he might end up shooting himself in the foot.

"If Major League Baseball opens an investigation - a credible investigation - Selig might as well start preparing his resignation," Olney wrote, "because the threads that will be pulled will all lead back to the same place: What did folks in the players association and Major League Baseball know, and what did they ignore?"

peter.schmuck@baltsun.com

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