I’ve never been a huge fan of Owens. Even though his reality show on VH1, The T.O. Show, gave us new insight into him and even a bit of sympathy (he cries a lot, but there are reasons why), I’ve never been a real fan of him on or off the field because I’m not particularly a fan of arrogance. However, it’s hard not to feel sorry for the brotha. In an effort to catch the eyes of a NFL team this past year, he held a televised workout in October hoping to get some love again, but no NFL teams chose to show up for it. Ouch. In addition to that, he’s fallen out with Monique and Kita, his homegirls from The T.O. Show for what he feels were their efforts to shop their own reality shows without him being part of it. “They said they were planning to make me an executive producer, but if we were business partners, don’t you think I would have known about it?”
And while Owens has recently announced his intentions to take six figures to play for the Indoor Football League (yes, it’s a downgrade…) this year, who can really call how long that will last? That man was on five teams since entering the NFL in ’96, and depending on how he keeps his attitude in check, it could be the same story all over again—just indoors.
I think it’s moments like this where it’s nice to value an education over the glitz and glamour of being in the public eye as a dwindling football star. After doing some digging, I can’t seem to find any info that says what kind of degree this man obtained while in the midst of playing football (and basketball too!) for the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. It is my hope that his concentration wasn’t solely focused on ball and that he does indeed have a degree to fall back on, just in case he continues to get the cold shoulder. If his situation, that of the NBA players during the lockout and countless other real-life stories tell us anything (PLEASE see Hoop Dreams), it is that the people making money off you, getting shine through you, whether in college or professionally (and usually not black), have the power to use you until they use you up. When they’re done with you, as you can see in Owens’ case, they’re too through with you and can have you out in these streets blacklisted. I’ve seen it happen with my own family members–my brothers at that. That’s why having something to fall back on and not putting all your eggs in one basket is essential. But then again, not being impossible to work with and settling down with ONE lady helps too.
Owens is a clear example of the problems with a lot of NFL, NBA players and the like. He got caught up with the money, cars, and the women, and now that his star isn’t rising as high as it used to, everybody is gone, or even worse–they’re around with their hands out. I think NBA player Shannon Brown said it best during the NBA lockout: “Dreams do come true but plans B and C are just important as A.” Whether that means taking the time to go back to school or putting a degree to good use, having an education as a cushion is better than sitting in a big old house staring at furniture that’s about to get taken because all that was ever counted on was a man’s athletic potential. Good luck in the IFL Terrell, but now might be the time to start getting real about checking out other options…