A friend of mine shot this story to me on TO, or Terrell Owens, or ah, I don’t know…
I just know he’s the guy that dropped the classic line, “I love me some me!” and had the great pom-pom end zone celebration that seemed much less rehearsed than the weak Sharpie-in-the-sock celebration pulled in Seattle in 2002.
Yes, it’s been that long. Hard to believe, but the San Francisco 49ers finally eclipsed the success they had when TO was there this season, as he departed the team in 2003. Back in 1999, there was Terrell Owens, a receiver that looked like he could re-write the record books and quite honestly, he eased the pain of Jerry Rice leaving for 49er fans as his talent seemed limitless. He was in perfect shape, 6’3 220+lbs, with deep-speed where DB’s could hang with him from 0-40 yards but post-40, “bye-bye”.
But then TO was born.
Obviously TO had a lot of fun. The article states that the he earned over $80,000,000 (1). That number is not a typo. However, now Terrell Owens finds himself “broke” (dude’s apartment is still the size of my house plus he’s in L.A., and I have 6 people with me) after suffering a knee injury without a contract, at 38-years old, with big child-support payments. Turns out that TO made a ton of bad business investments and even blames agent Drew Rosenhaus for not protecting him. Over the years, TO has always blamed a lot of people for a lot of things. I just watch the ESPN-tabloid so I don’t know what’s true.
But who’s to blame for this four kids by different mothers? The article states,
Now he is in court with all four women, whom he lumps together like one big bloodsucking blob. None of them are being fair, he says: “They know I’m not working; they know the deal.” Although he never established regular visitation with any of the children through the courts, he says he sees the eldest three as much as he can when their mothers allow it. So bitter is his relationship with the mother of the youngest child, a son, that he has never met the boy. (1)
Now, before I continue on, you may ask, “Who am I to judge?” Well, I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to seek a child support reduction, have a tenuous relationship with my son’s mother and fight for visitation. I didn’t make $80 million dollars, I was making a few hundred dollars every two weeks, worried about the lights getting shut-off, and had to take out a zillion dollars in student loans just to go back to school and re-invent myself because I didn’t want my son working side-by-side with me when he turned 16 years old. So yes, I’ve been there TO.
But TO, you need to start fighting to see your kids, and not just “when their mothers allow it” and you need to find a way to be a dad to the youngest you are yet to meet.
Any other single-dad that’s reading this, let me tell you that you fight. You continue to fight. You never stop fighting. Amazing that a fool is willing to fight and kill over stepping on his Jordans, but will hide like a mouse from our own children. This is not because we don’t care, but because we’re scared.
Scared of confrontation.
Scared of our own emotions and how they make us vulnerable.
Scared of losing because we are not in control of the situation.
But you call yourself “Hard”?
How well do you fight your inner-TO?
I often hear Terrell Owens speak of his grandmother and the impact she had on his life. However, I’ve never heard him really talking about his father. Perhaps it was because he didn’t meet his dad until he was 11 years old (2). In a 2004 Sports Illustrated article, we discover,
“At age 11 Terrell developed a crush on a girl across the street and began sneaking over to flirt with her–until her father told him that he could not “be interested in her” because she was his half-sister. “It took me a while to understand that I was talking to my father,” Owens writes. When he asked his mother why she’d never told him that his father lived across the street, she said that “it wasn’t necessary to explain everything to me.”
TO asks for no sympathy because nothing in his experience has given him reason to expect any. But he is entitled to it just the same, and his critics who read this book might want to lay off him for a while. It’s not hard to understand why a man deprived of his father, deprived of his childhood, deprived of the words I love you, would develop a tendency to call attention to himself when he succeeds.”
That was Terrell Owens talking right there. A man making himself vulnerable. But TO takes over when that same man, who knows what it’s like to grow up with a father so close yet so far, turns around and continues the same cycle with his children.
If a good man is hard to find, then the impact of a bad father is even harder to get rid of.
Just as Terrell’s dad was right across the street, TO’s image will be just as close for his children as daddy is just one ESPN click, internet page, and reality show away from them.
For what it’s worth, and not because I’m a 49er fan, I think I’d like Terrell Owens if I met him in person and we hung out. He seems like a guy that I’d get along with and I’d certainly love to hit the steel with him. But it’s TO that I couldn’t roll with, and if the article is true, I don’t think Terrell even wants to roll with TO any longer. Therefore, I hope Terrell steps back up and becomes the man and the father he’s supposed to be to his kids.
Perhaps you’re a single dad or soon-to-be divorced dad and you’re having a hard time dealing with visitation. Don’t stop fighting to see them and having a relationship with your child(ren). It’s not about you and the mom any longer, so don’t let that relationship hinder you.
It’s not always easy, it’s not always fun, but when you look back and know that you fought for something worth for more than $80 million, then you have reason to celebrate like this:
Remember, you only have one shot at this, so do it right.
(1) Jeff Arnold, Terrell Owens In GQ: I’m In Hell, http://www.thepostgame.com/features/201201/terrell-owens-gq-jeremiah-trotter-told-me-not-apologize-donovan-mcnabb, January 2012
(2) Charles Hirshberg, Sympathy For The Showboat, http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1113703/index.htm, 2004