There is a story by Nancy Hass in GQ about Terrell Owens. Ms. Hass may not be as widely known as some other sports writers, but she does have an entry in the 2011 edition of Best American Sports Writing. This story is worth reading in its entirety.
Here are some of the salient points from that story:
T.O. has had no offers from NFL teams – - not even lowball offers – - subsequent to his knee surgery and the televised workout he and Drew Rosenhaus staged.
T.O. is “desperate for cash”. He claims that his financial advisors – - recommended by Rosenhaus – - put him into risky ventures that collapsed.
One of his financial advisors has shut down his company and is facing “drug charges in connection with the alleged rape of a female employee.”
One surviving business venture is a men’s hair salon in Miami called T.O. Cutz. Given that his normal appearance is with a shaved head, potential customers might be wary of the range of options open to them there.
T.O. is paying $44K per month to four women who are the mothers of his four children.
The closest that T.O. comes in this story to realizing that his past behaviors just might be the reason no NFL team has called to ask him to come for a workout is that he admits that he is “not a tactful person.” [Aside: That is almost as self-evident as saying that Helen Keller would not do well with a Rubik’s Cube.] At the same time, he also says:
“I think people change, but the media, they never allowed me to change. They never allowed me to be a better person.”
Memo to T.O.: Most folks do not need the media’s permission to become a better person.
This story ought to be read by young athletes in various sports – - but it will not. Young athletes can learn a lot from reading this in terms of what they need to pay attention to in addition to things like staying in shape, avoiding felonious behaviors and the like. Terrell Owens earned about $80M in his career and he is now “desperate for cash” as he is nearing the time when he will no longer be able to play football to earn money. One can learn from role models – - both positive ones and negative ones. The thing to keep straight is to know which role models are negative ones so those are the behaviors to avoid.
Meanwhile, Roger Goodell would seem to be in a situation where he will have no financial woes for the foreseeable future. The NFL owners just extended Goodell’s contract through March 2019. While I do not recall reading anything about the financial aspects of that contract, I have to assume that his yearly income has at least two commas in the number and perhaps as many as seven zeroes… Given the financial well-being of the NFL, you can say that he earned that contract.
Let me ask a rhetorical question regarding the NFL:
The NFL has a rule against taunting an opponent – - that is covered under the list of things considered to be unsportsmanlike conduct.
So, how does even the most tasteful end zone celebration avoid such a penalty flag?
As coaches are shuffling around from one NFL team to another in this off-season, I think it would be instructive to take a look at the coaching staff of the New York Giants in 1956.
Jim Lee Howell: He was the head coach. He would win the NFL Championship that year over the Chicago Bears. During his time with the Giants (7 seasons), he compiled a record of 53-27-4 and was the coach of the Giants in the “greatest game ever played” – - the overtime loss to the Baltimore Colts in the 58 NFL Championship game.
Vincent Thomas Lombardi: He was the offensive coordinator. In early 1959, he took over a Packers’ team that had gone 1-10-1 the previous year; in his second season there, the Packers were in the NFL Championship game, which they lost. After that, his Packers dominated the decade of the 1960s.
Thomas Wade Landry: He was the defensive coordinator. He took over the expansion Dallas Cowboys’ franchise in 1960 and was the head coach there until 1988. His Cowboys had a winning record in 20 consecutive seasons (1966 – 1985) and most folks credit him with the “invention” of the 4-3 defense still used by many NFL teams.
Today, people like to talk about “coaching trees”. That 1956 NY Giants coaching staff bore an awful lot of fruit…
Finally, here is an item from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times:
“Harvey Updyke, the accused Toomer’s Corner tree-poisoner, has rejected prosecutors’ plea deal that would have sent him to prison for 13 years and banned him from Alabama sporting events.
“Or to put it in football terms, he declined the penalty.”
[Aside: A prison term of 13 years for killing a tree? The prosecutors must think Judge Isaac Parker is coming back from the grave to preside over the sentencing here. Wow!]
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………