Eagles: McNabb Versus T.O.

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Stephen A. Smith, that big yapped yenta over at ESPN is doing his best to stir up a controversy where none ought to exist. Here are the basic facts: Philadelphia Eagles receiver Terrell Owens wants to tear up his contract after a year, even though he was injured the second half of the season and the team made it all the way to the Super Bowl without him.

He returned for the big game, and guess what? They lost! Still, he somehow thinks that he deserves a raise, as if he were the reason they finally got over the Conference championship hump. So, he fired his agent and hired another who promptly demanded that Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie renegotiate his seven-year agreement.

When that ploy didn't work, Owens, at shameless media whore stooped to an all-time low, trashing team leader, quarterback Donovan McNabb. Working his puppet Smith like that trash-talking marionette you see in those annoying NBA ads, T.O. has somehow raised a rather unique criticism of his teammate.

He alleges that other Eagles see Donovan as a company man willing to front for the organization. Duh! To me, this makes perfect sense for a couple of very good reasons. First, McNabb has a $100-plus million contract. For that amount money, if my boss asked me to shine his shoes, I'd do so gladly, and offer to iron his shirt and dust his office, too. I'd even do windows.

Secondly, the Eagles organization has enjoyed phenomenal success over the last four years, achievements only overshadowed by the New England Patriots. I can tick off 25 cities which would eagerly trade their lot for that of Philly's. Yes, Donovan and coach Andy Reid are very close. Yes they are conservative, almost corporate. Yes they are tight-lipped, and never give a good sound-bite.

But their real job doesn't revolve around helping the media sell newspapers. As Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis would confirm, their sole responsibility is to "Just win, baby!" Therefore, believe it or not, the sort of sensational swirling around the team is a distraction which could rip the team apart.

The silly accusations being circulated by Smith suggest that Donovan is a modern-day house Negro who has no problem enriching himself at the expense of the rest of the brothers. The so-called football field Negroes who do the dirty work.

Uncle Tom and slavery analogies are no longer applicable, when everybody we're talking about is enjoying an income which places them in the top 1 percentile of all wage-earners. I say Terrell is a cancer which needs to be excised ASAP, before he sows enough seeds of discontent to wreck the foundation laid by Reid, one of the league's best cap-ologists.

Obviously, there is no longer enough room on this team for both Terrell and Donovan. I say the one that's got to go is the Johnny-come-lately without a proven track record.

For while Terrell may be a showboat who knows how to garner media attention by doing a jitterbug after he scores a touchdown or by getting into a hot tub with the naked blonde-of-the-moment, his big mouth, bigger ego, insatiable greed, and backstabbing ways are far more toxic than anything Donovan has ever done. Give me the modest company man over the flamboyant jerk anytime. Sayonara, TO.

Black Star columnist Lloyd Williams is a member of the NJ, NY, CT, PA, MA & US Supreme Court bars. For more reports please call (212) 481-7745 to subscribe to the newsstand edition of The Black Star News.

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