Twenty Five Million Reasons T.O Should Fire His Publicist

I will start by saying that I am an EAGLES fan, and that I think the Eagles did the totally right thing for them. That being said, I pride myself on fairness. The recent allegation that T.O. attempted suicide with an overdose of painkillers brought to light a few reasons why T.O. might want to consider a change in Publicists. Let’s start with the recent past and work our way up to the present train wreck.

T.O. was signed by Dallas for a three-year, $25 Million deal with a $5 Million bonus and a $5 Million salary in 2006.

He has a press conference announcing “I’m a star among stars now.”

Hold the presses…a star among stars? OK, he was excited, he has a huge ego….no problem there….nothing to spin, and nothing to control….Publicist has absolutely nothing to do save perhaps smooth over wrinkled egos at the Dallas locker room. After all, who wants to play with someone who boasts like that until he can actually back it up? Nothing was done. Probably the right thing.

Then began the saga of training camp, Parcells perceived ambivalence and Owens typical inattentive behavior that disrespects the whole idea of mini-camps and training at a time when he was a Dallas Cowboys rookie. Every team has a flavor, and he didn’t take the time to taste it before he decided how it should be served.

Mistake number one by his publicist: Allowing T.O. to open his big, stupid mouth about how he “overslept” on August 25th. This was after missing 14 straight workouts, and after he showed up TWO HOURS late for a kids youth football camp named after him because “I’ve been playing for the Dallas Cowboys” in June. He was already being fined and had flouted the rules for quite a while, and at this point chose to laugh it off as oversleeping.

Public Perception: I miss work, I get canned, why is it that you get paid $5 Million to not show up?

During this time, T.O. came out with not one, but TWO autobiographies to “set the record straight.” about leaving Philly and who T.O really is.

Mistake number Two: When your client is a loud-mouth, who will say a whole lot while casually telling the listeners how unimportant they are, you don’t have a ghost-writer come in to tell his “story” to try to humanize him. No one will question that T.O. obvioiusly didn’t pen these books alone, but where is the wisdom in trying to humanize a guy who already doesn’t give a rat’s behind what the rest of the world thinks?

Public Perception: Here comes the media blitz because T.O. will never say he’s sorry, but they reaslly want us to accept him and his behavior.

Pulling his hamstring was apparently T.O. excuse for missing all of that pre-season practice, and when doctors for the team didn’t find any reason to support the claim, T.O. went to get his own doctors to support his story, because after all, the TEAM doctors wouldn’t know anything about MEDICINE?

Mistake number three: When your “talent” decides not to show up at practice and claim a hamstring injury as the reason when he hasn’t been working out with the team at all, DON’T let him get all indignant about the diagnosis by the team doctors and hire his own hired guns to say whatever he pays them to say. Sit him down and tell him that he should explain that his experts don’t agree with the diagnosis and he is worried that he might risk long term injury. It’s not like T.O. doesn’t have moments of eloquence enough to say that.

Public Perception: T.O. is lazy, and lies to cover his laziness. Not that this is necessarily true (consider that the source of this perception is an Eagles fan), but this is a common perception because of the way the publicity came out.

T.O. O.D.s on painkillers after fracturing his finger in a game two win over the ‘Skins. He had a plate put into his finger on September 18th. That can’t be easy. Must hurt a lot. Normal to get painkillers. The following week, he takes “a few too many” of his painkillers in the presence of his publicist. From here the story goes a llittle haywire.

She’s sitting right there talking to him and he is “unresponsive,” so she calls 911. OK, I am pretty sure that unresponsive means anything from not answering questions to not conscious. Have you ever called 911 when someone wouldn’t answer a question? I mean, come on…if you have to lie for the client, come up with something better than “unresponsive.” You call 911 when there is a serious medical issue. Read that as either he was having difficulty breathing or that there was some other urgent medical condition.

Public Perception: They are lying about what happened.

Police State that there were reports that T.O. was depressed, and possibly suicidal alluded to by the caller (his publicist).
Publicist denies ever saying such a thing at press conference. Police release a REDACTED police report. OK, so she did take the step of having legal contact the police department to redact the report…smart move…or was it? The AP has already filed a Freedom of Information Act paper for the un-redacted police report in order to investigate whether T.O.’s publicist just lied at the press conference the Cowboys probably threw together (I don’t really think his publicist has the wherewithal to have orchestrated this).

Public Perception: Now there is definitely some cover-up and T.O. is lying about a suicide attempt. This is not necessarily true, but it is public perception. I think the SMART thing would ahve been to hold NO press conference, and drasft a press release stating that this was really just a medical problem and that T.O. appreciates the support of his fans and would ask for some privacy. Here’s some advice, when the choice is between the talent’s pride and the sympathetic support of his fans, ALWAYS go with the sympathetic support of the fans, because THAT is what sells merchandise and pays the bills.

Mistake number Four: CALLING A PRESS CONFERENCE about this trainwreck of an episode. I don’t think that T.O.s publicist called this press conference, but she sure seems to have been a dishevelled participant in it. I think her first mistake was calling 911 indiscriminantly without contacting the Team press corps and the Team physicians at the same time or shortly thereafter. Isn’t it smarter to have doctors talking to the doctors and lawyers talking to the police instead of an obviously drugged up T.O.? And then to go along with this circus of a press conference? I don’t think T.O. should have even been making an appearance, throwing passes with your QB two hours after release or not.

All I am saying is this:

Public perception about T.O. might be wrong, and it mimght not. But the JOB of a publicist is to try to marry the truth with the professional goals of the talent as best as possible. I don’t think any of this episode served T.O., the Cowboys (who I admittedly am not a fan of) or Professional Football in any capacity.

Maybe after four downs without crossing the line of scrimmage, it is time to kick Kim Etheredge, his publicist, through the uprights and get a new one. I don’t know her, and she is probably a wonderful person, but I don’t think she has served her client as well as she could have here. And this is coming from someone who doesn’t even LIKE T.O..

Let me know what you think.

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