Archive for Thursday, November 10, 2005

The Fly Route

November 10, 2005

It's amazing how good some people can display not shutting up.

One need look no further than the last week's worth of sports headlines to find the worst offenders -- and no, I won't start with Terrell Owens.

I'll start with Joe Paterno, the ageless wonder of Penn State.

Paterno recently responded to the corner fellow head coach Air Force's Fisher DeBerry backed himself into.

DeBerry, frustrated after losing to TCU, explained one reason for his team's slump was its lack of minority players.

"It just seems to be that way, that Afro-American kids can run very, very well," he said several days later, explaining his team didn't have enough such kids.

Now this is an insanely stupid comment to make, but not because he's right or he's wrong. It's insanely stupid because it doesn't matter what he is, people even stupider than DeBerry labeled his comments blatant racism.

I can't fathom how anyone would even bring that topic into a conversation without expecting to cause an uproar.

Paterno didn't help matters.

"You have to be careful the way you say things sometimes," he reportedly said. "Poor Fisher DeBerry got in trouble, but the black athlete has made a big difference. They have changed the whole tempo of the game. Black athletes have just done a great job as athletes and as people in turning the game around."

Honestly, I don't have a problem with what either man said, and I think it's silly that there is any debate of the comments.

Still, I just can't understand why anyone would talk about race. Clearly race is still a hot topic in this country because every time someone spouts off like DeBerry or Paterno, the media goes crazy.

So why even mention it? Coaches, just shut up. I wish you could say whatever you wanted. I wish people would listen to what you were actually saying rather than zone in on the words "black" and "Afro-American," leaving the rest of the comment a blurry mess, but obviously America's not ready to do that yet.

America is however ready for Terrell Owens to shut up.

This guy had it made. He won my admiration by playing relatively well in the Super Bowl last season despite rushing back from a broken leg.

Owens had a bad reputation when he left San Francisco and he was obviously still a showboat with Philadelphia, but showboats that put up huge numbers and stay relatively within the lines in sanity can quickly become legends.

All Owens had to do was not go crazy.

No such luck. His team, his city -- heck, the whole NFL -- was prepared to love the brave T.O. after the Super Bowl, but he began demanding a new contract in the offseason. He spouted off about Donavan McNabb.

Once the season started, he still performed, despite having already kissed away most of the goodwill he earned the season before.

Then, conducting an interview for ESPN, he blew away his last bit of dignity.

He labeled the Eagles organization classless and he said he'd rather play with Brett Farve than McNabb. It topped all of his other stupid ploys for attention and it finally got his butt kicked off the team.

I think Owens just wants ESPN and Sports Illustrated, John Madden and Al Michaels, you and me, to admit that he's the best player in the league. I think he wants us all to acknowledge his skill and his hard work, and I think he just picks terribly stupid ways to go about trying to get us to do that.

He could have had all of it, too, had he just shut up after the Super Bowl. He'd be a hero in Philly. He'd be a hero across the country and he'd be considered one of the gutsiest players in football today.

Now he's one of the stupidest.

Smooth move T.O.

If only they could all just shut up.

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