A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Finally Somebody Has Told Owens “No” And It Will Do Him Some Good
SAN ANTONIO– Well finally it has happened and I for one am glad that it happened in this fashion. Arbitrator Richard Bloch upheld the case the Philadelphia Eagles had made in why they were suspending Terrell Owens and they won by an overwhelming statement. For Owens and the NFLP union, it was an utter defeat. Before I get to Owens, let me say this about Gene Upshaw and the union. Get your act together people. There is a time to fight a worthwhile battle and then there is a time when you have to tell one of your members, “We can’t help you”. Upshaw this was that case and you should have told your lawyers that. Insubordination is not tolerated in any work place and you should be embarrassed for even trying to force an employer to take back an employee who did not want to follow the rules that were set forth.
Now with that said, let me say that the only person that has ultimate blame here is Owens. You see the way Terrell acted, he was like this spoiled little kid and everybody kept telling him ‘yes’. Nobody has ever told him no when it counted most. He was a spoiled brat at San Francisco who was a bigger brat in Philadelphia. So when Andy Reid decided to get tough with him, everybody wanted to pile on Reid and make him and Andy Banner the bad guys. Forget the fact that Owens did every thing in his power to be a disruptive force to the Eagles organization. Nobody, not one single person, in his immediate family, his confidants, his road dogs, his management told Owens he needs to shut up and just play. Quite a few people failed him and ultimately he failed himself in the end.
Understand where I’m coming from here. In the Black community a man isn’t a man unless he can stand up for himself. Maybe not in this current era, but I do remember a time when young Black men were told by older men that the only way to make it in this world is to be accountable for your actions and to put in an honest day’s work for your boss. That is lost on several generations now because so many of these young black men of today feel they are entitled to so much. While not trying to steal any words from Michael Jordan when he did his 60 Minutes interview, I can understand why he feels that he is ‘old school’ now. He and so many of us who are in our late 30s to early 40s remember a time when our fathers, uncles, older brothers and grandfathers tried to give us proper guidance by showing us what a work ethic is all about. When we became successful, we would reach back and help somebody else come up behind us. Jerry Rice understood that principle and he tried to reach back to Owens early in his career to help him become the next wide receiver who would set records. Owens balked and walked and ultimately disrespected Rice at a crucial time in that player’s career. So how can any of us expect him to understand the value of holding down a job? We can’t because he couldn’t fathom the concept.
And so now somebody has told him no and put him in the worst situation he ever could be placed in. He has been relegated to receiving $1 million to stay away from his employer and fellow teammates. He is now forced to sit in his Atlanta home and ponder, “what if” all season long. Well Terrell, maybe you’ll read this and maybe you won’t but I want to tell you exactly why you deserved this punishment and what you need to do to become a better person. Maybe you’ll take my advice. Maybe you won’t but then again maybe you should. What do you have to lose? At this point nothing. So if you are reading this, or if somebody you know reads this, listen to what they tell you. Because maybe this will help you.
First of all dump Drew Rosenhaus and never recommend him to your friends. What he did to you was unconscionable and a disgrace. I’m not an agent and I’m not going to speak for anyone who I know who is one but I can tell you this, if I were an agent and I witnessed what he did to you, I would be finding a way to have him removed from the NFL. Terrell agents are to be your guiding force in the sports business realm. They are not your spokespersons or your public relations handlers. Sure they can help prepare you for the media but ultimately, a good agent will be so far back in the background many will not even know who he is.
Secondly, Terrell you need to find you a set of friends who truly are your friends and not your posse. Let me tell you what a good friend would do for you early in your fight with the Eagles. He would have punched you in the mouth when you got out of hand. He would have told you to look at what you have and what you could be giving up. He would have told you that you were wrong and that you need to just lay low for a while. Why would a friend do that? Because a true friend isn’t looking at your pocketbook or paycheck; he’s looking at his friend’s welfare on an overall basis.
Third, be careful who you let associate with you who are not a part of your inner circle and be intelligent enough to understand that sometimes a scavenger is that; a scavenger. Terrell reflect on these past events and take stock as to who was there to help you and who wasn’t. It could prove vital later in life.
Lastly, Terrell I want you to know that there are people out here who want to help you be a better person. I know there are some people out there in Atlanta who will want to help you become a better person. Maybe you truly do need to speak to a religious figure and understand why things happened the way they did. I know that there are some good agents who will represent you now in a professional manner that could resurrect your career and I know they have reached out to you. Terrell, find those who came out to talk to you or left you a message and return their call. Let these individuals help you come back being a better player next season both on and off the court. And most importantly, understand why people are saying no to you now.
As a player I have much respect for what Terrell has accomplished but it truly does pains me to watch him go through this. However I understand why it had to be done and I’m hoping everyone else understands why it happened too. This wasn’t some case of the ‘white man holding another black man down’. If I hear that statement from one more individual I think I’m going to scream. This was a case of an employee not understanding who was in charge. I believe Terrell now understands what went down and he now understands that he cannot be ‘ghetto’ his actions in the business world. I’m hoping that he takes this lesson and applies it to his future endeavors because this was a much-needed lesson for him. It was a hard lesson for a player to understand but it will serve him well. At least I’m hoping it does because every spoiled child or athlete needs to understand the boundaries that they can operate in.
HAWKS FINALLY WIN ONE Okay I can put the Hawks demolition truck on cruise control for a bit. The Atlanta Hawks won their first game the other night against the Boston Celtics. Okay so instead of 0-14 for the month they may go 1-13. It’s still a horrendous start and I am still going to push the issue that management is the blame here. As a matter of fact this team could win the rest of their games for the month of November and I am going to rail on the premise that this is a bad team with a roster that is not put together for competitiveness. This team only won 13 games last season so the harsh criticism will be warranted. Until the Atlanta Spirit, LLC gets its collective act together and run this franchise in a fashion that is befitting ownership of a professional franchise, I may not be the only sports columnist looking at blowing things up, starting over and rebuild a roster around a superstar. But here’s the problem. Right now, there is no superstar to rebuild around. Go figure. And to think they spent $70 million to get Joe Johnson and only one win has come out of it so far. Maybe Steve Belkin was right in his assessment. Until next week. Heck I may change my mind on that comment too.