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T.O. gives a radio interview

I just finished listening to a 30-minute interview Terrell Owens did with John Thompson (yes, the ex-Georgetown coach) on his sports radio show out of Washington, D.C. I won't go into the actual verbatim questions and answers given, but I do have some commentary on what transpired.

First, Owens is actually a pretty engaging guy who is able to express himself well. He answered all the questions, remained calm throughout and gave what on the surface seemed to be reasonable responses. Of course he referenced his book often, but Thompson and his co-host framed a lot of questions about the book so he responded in kind.  

He talked about Donovan and he talked about the support he said that other Eagles players gave him after things went sour in Philadelphia. He also said that Drew Rosenhaus didn't try to strong-arm the Eagles into giving him a new contract; that they were just looking for a good-faith offer based on what they thought was Owens' market-value. He discussed endzone celebrations, his expectations of his role in Dallas; he even went back to episodes in San Francisco and things that transpired there.

There was nothing said that was "new", nothing that we haven't already heard. Thompson and the co-host didn't press him too hard so when he said things that normally would've prompted a follow-up question from reporters, they just let it go.

But here's the thing, this is what I got out of the interview; Terrell Owens has a persecution complex. He's unable to see that some of the things he does, some of the things he says, could reasonably be interpreted by other people in a negative way. He tries to cover it up by saying that he has made mistakes and that he has learned from them, but he's never able to actually say what those mistakes were or how he's changed because of them. This leaves one to believe he only says that because he's been coached to say it, not because he really believes it. In his world, his actions are always correct, or if not correct, they don't rise to the level of the scorn he receives. He's a martyr, persecuted on all sides.

For instance, he was asked about the star-incident. He can't bring himself to understand that standing on the symbol of a team - the very thing that represents a team's unity and pride - in front of their home fans, could somehow be interpreted as disrespectful. Instead, he launches into an explanation about how the press says that players are boring and that when they do show their personality the press then shoots them down. But just minutes later he'll contradict himself by saying they don't get on Steve Smith or Chad Johnson about their celebrations, but they do if it's him. He can't understand that stomping on the star is different from doing the "row boat" or asking a cheerleader to get married.

He was asked if the star celebration was egotistical because he didn't celebrate with his teammates, and he responds that now they have rules that you can't do that that so you can't win either way. The thought never occurs to him that you can actually do like many other players have done before and hand the ball to the ref, or jump up in down with your team in the endzone.

But more to the point, he can't see that stomping on the star is a problem. It's not his fault, it's the presses fault, or it's Mariucci's fault for not backing him. He is always persecuted by outside forces.

When he was asked about trying to get a new contract with the Eagles, he blamed Sal Palontonio for reporting that they were strong-arming the Eagles. It never occurs to him that he signed a contract and he should live by it, or at least that is what some fans might think. His actions are always justified, but everybody else is just attacking him.

It's an interesting thing to listen to, because if you just take what he says on each issue at face value, you might walk away saying the guy has a point. But when you add them all together, you get the picture of a guy who is unable - whether consciously or from some flaw in his personality - to recognize that he can possibly be wrong, that he has made a mistake. Instead, he assumes the position of a persecuted martyr, who is just misunderstood. When you combine that kind of personality with the need to constantly attract attention; the need to always show how great you are, you get a volatile mixture. You get Terrell Owens.

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