Game Point:

Most people, specifically people whom we do not know very well, are known for one thing that they have done in their lives. It’s unfair, but it’s how we identify people, by associating them with something that they have done, regardless of whether it’s good or bad (more times bad than good).

Jennifer Lopez is known for her rear end, Michael Jackson is known for his affinity in young children, and Paris Hilton is known for her acting in…well, let’s leave that part out. As for Terrell Owens, he is known for his touchdown celebrations and outbursts against coaches and teammates. However, that’s the problem, not all players get along with their peers and/or coaches.

I don’t know Owens personally, and I’m not saying that he is a model citizen, but he faces criticism from the media that is well undeserved. I agree, Owens hasn’t necessarily given himself a positive image by what he’s done in the past, but there are football players, both current and retired, who have done a lot worse than Owens has in his career. There are players who have gotten D.U.I.s, beaten their wives, and/or have failed drug tests, but Owens faces more public attention and negative judgments about his character than he deserves. Owens hasn’t been accused of anything from the aforementioned list, but in my opinion, the worst thing he has done is being known as a disruption in the locker room.

A few years ago, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis took part in a murder trial for allegedly killing someone outside of a nightclub a few days leading into the Super Bowl. A few months later, the charges were eventually dropped and Lewis’ image hasn’t taken a plummet. Lewis is now considered one of the best defensive players in the game, and he even graced the cover of the popular football game, Madden 2005. Miami Dolphins quarterback Daunte Culpepper and a few of his former Minnesota Vikings teammates have been tied to a sex-boat party scandal that made him and his former team a laughing stock. The charges have currently been dismissed, but people are talking about Culpepper’s trade from Minnesota to Miami more than his well publicized incident. During his playing days, retired Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin was linked to numerous occurrences involving drugs and the law. But now, he is known as the outspoken correspondent on ESPN’s morning football show, Sunday NFL Countdown.

Even Owens’ touchdown celebrations receive negative attention. When players such as Chad Johnson and Steve Smith celebrate, people say that they are “only having fun.” But when Owens does a celebration, people say “Oh no, not again,” or feel that it’s disrespectful to the game.

I’m not trying to defend Owens by making people believe that he’s a nice person. For all I know, he might actually be a bad person. But the point that I’m trying to make is that we cannot allow for the media to depict how we see people, whether it be in a negative or positive light. I agree with the opposition in that Owens doesn’t necessarily carry himself in the best way, but I feel as if the media has put a bull’s-eye on his chest. Anything negative Owens does is blown out of proportion, and anything positive Owens does is swept under the rug.