In my January 17th post, "Extreme Makeover: Reality Edition," I highlighted a story about an Arizona family who was given a million dollar home by the reality teevee show and was unable to keep it. In the post, I asserted that there are a lot of people who just can't handle prosperity. At least some of the blame for that can be placed squarely upon the media, which relentlessly glorifies narcissistic celebrities who live extravagantly lavish and foolishly wasteful lifestyles.
Very few sports figures in recent years have come to personify this phenomenon as much as NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens. To put it bluntly, for well over a decade while he was in his prime Owens perfectly exemplified everything that is wrong with modern professional sports. He was a selfish, me-first attention whore of a ballplayer who hogged the spotlight and thumbed his nose at his coaches while always blaming his teammates for his own shortcomings. Along the way, Owens completely ignored the old mantra that you should be careful how you treat people as you're climbing the ladder lest they shit all over you when you're on the way back down.
So I have to admit to having experienced a considerable amount of schadenfreude when I read the story below from ABC News:
Terrell Owens, the former NFL star receiver who has signed to play for and co-own an indoor football team, is friendless and nearly broke, he told GQ magazine. “I’m in hell,” Owens, 38, said he tells people who ask about his well-being.It's time we stop, children. What's that sound? It's the sound of me, playing the world's smallest violin for Terrell Owens. No one should feel ANY sympathy for a pathetic excuse for a human being who, because of the utterly skewed values of our society, is handed $80 million merely for playing a kid's game and manages to blow the whole roll by the time he's 38 years old. If I saw the fucker out panhandling I wouldn't waste a wooden nickle on him.
After the Cincinnati Bengals did not renew his one-year, $2 million contract last year, Owens has been suffering from his financial shortcomings, including ventures gone bad and child support for his four children, he said.
The $80 million or so he had made in his career is almost gone, he said, but not because he lived a lavish lifestyle.
In a profile story in GQ’s February issue, Owens said his financial advisers lured him into risky investments such as an Alabama entertainment complex that cost him $2 million. He later learned the venture was illegal in the state and violated the NFL’s policy of prohibiting players from investing in gambling, he said.
He also owns a slew of properties that he thought he would be able to rent before the housing market tanked, he said. He has a home in Los Angeles that cost him $499,000 and a multimillion-dollar home that is for sale in Atlanta. The home in New Jersey for which he paid $3.9 million was sold in late 2010 for $1.7 million, he said.
Owens also pays $44,600 a month in child support for his four children, ages 5 to 12. Three of the four mothers have sued him.
The football player laments about losing trust in people and friends. When people text and ask where he is, he answers, “I’m in hell.”
“I don’t have no friends,” he told GQ. ”I don’t want no friends. That’s how I feel.”
Back when Terrell Owens was still a star in the NFL, there were plenty of idiot sports fans who stupidly looked up to him as a role model. But I would argue that he is actually a much better role model now. Kids everywhere need to be shown his example and taught that he is exactly what they should aspire NOT to be, on the field or off.
Bonus: I'd like to dedicate this song to Terrell Owens. "I guess you ain't worth a damn, when you're broke"