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Owens, Johnson Take Spotlight With Gripes

By Yong-yi Zhu

COLUMNIST

With this being Super Bowl week, all the focus is on football. The winning streak of the New England Patriots has of course been impressive. The grit of the Carolina Panthers has perhaps been the most under appreciated thing all season. The storylines are great. Jake Delhomme is trying to be the second coming of Tom Brady, and Tom Brady is just trying to win his second Super Bowl in three years. In fact, the Super Bowl is so celebrative that all the Cristal in Houston has been sold and people are driving to Louisiana to get more.

But then, there are always the idiots trying to ruin all the festivities surrounding joyous times. There has been Ray Lewis and his fiasco after the Super Bowl several years ago. There was Pete Rose releasing his gambling statement right around the time that the Hall of Fame announcements were being made. Now, there’s the pair of Terrell Owens and Keyshawn Johnson making dumb headway this week. Perhaps we should expect something like this, after all, these two are among the biggest loudmouths in the entire NFL.

Let’s begin with Terrell Owens. He isn’t new to stupid behavior. Several years ago, when he was playing the Dallas Cowboys at Texas Stadium, Owens proceeded to stomp on the star located at midfield after scoring a touchdown. When he did again, he was stopped by a Cowboys player running over to tackle Owens.

Also, Owens once pulled out a sharpie right after scoring a touchdown out of his shoes in order to sign the football for his agent. Granted Joe Horn has topped that with his planted cell phone call, but Owens was the original pre-meditated celebration artist.

This week, Owens has stated that he probably will not be back with the San Francisco 49ers, and that he would most likely sign with Baltimore or Atlanta. That’s about as normal as this story gets.

Owens continues by ripping Jeff Garcia completely. He says that of him and Garcia, only one of the two will return in the next year. He does not want to play with a quarterback who cannot “match [his] skills as a receiver,” Owens stated. He also says that “A receiver is only as good as his quarterback.”

It seems to me that Owens thinks the world of himself and that Garcia can’t do anything. The truth is both players have been to the same number of Pro Bowls. Sure, Garcia is more of a scrambler than a down-the-field passer, but that doesn’t mean that Garcia can’t quarterback. If you look at Owens’s numbers from the last two seasons, he was high but not tops in many categories. I guess that means that Garcia isn’t that bad of a quarterback after all.

So what does this really say about Terrell Owens? Perhaps he’s just looking for trouble, for attention. Or it’s perhaps that the 49ers should listen to Owens: just keep the quarterback.

Then, there’s outright anger of Keyshawn Johnson. He was issued a temporary restraining order this week for threatening who he thought was a boyfriend of his ex-wife, who Johnson thinks is purposefully disrupting his reconciling with his ex-wife. The restraining order was due to Keyshawn’s call to the supposed boyfriend, John Mahannah Jr., and threats to kill and beat him.

This wasn’t the first stupidity offense for Keyshawn either, granted in the past, they have not been as legally troubling. Johnson has previously criticized Wayne Chrebet when Johnson went from the Jets to the Buccaneers. This season, he was deactivated by the Buccaneers in order for the team to perform better.

His agent said that some parts of the story involving the restraining order were exaggerated. Granted that may be the case, but still, how can one tolerate this kind of behavior?

Professional athletes are the role models of many children around the country. Their jerseys are worn by kids, and they strive to become Terrell Owens or Keyshawn Johnson. Yes, these stories might not make the radar if they were from ordinary people, but these are superstars.

Athletes must understand that their behavior matters a lot to people and should much more seriously consider their actions before anything. In any case, we would never want future children to taunt their fellow workers or to threaten their potential enemies. I’m guessing that even Owens and Johnson would feel the same about that.