Blog Entry

Battle Scars 1st Edition - Media Bias & T.O.

Posted on: January 20, 2009 2:55 pm

Battle Scars

Welcome to the first editions of Battle Scars. Battle Scars is the portion of my blog that I use to rant and rave about the week's headlines.

I'll start with the most hated two words that any Cowboys fan has heard uttered out of the mouths of a media member.

Anonymous Source!

Everytime I see these words starting an editorial or column, I kringe. Myself, along with 2 million other Cowboys fans, would really like to know who the "Anonymous Source" is that Ed Werder and ESPN have sworn by this season. I speculate often that the source is manifistation of Ed Werder's bias mind. After all, he has been after Terrell Owens for years. He has been fishing for information and this season, in the wake of Dallas' disappointment, he found Dallas an easy target fabricate some controversy. Maybe someone in the locker room, or just out side the locker room perhaps, mentioned something obscure that he felt he could twist into a breaking story. After all, the Dallas Cowboys are big news, expecially when they are on edge.

Now there is about as much fact in this has in Werder's "source", but hey, he isn't the only one that can twist a story.

As a fellow Cowboys fan and poster withing the Dallas Cowboys' community (Calcio9) has brought to light, Marvin Harrison seems to have a pretty checkered past.

For years, though, Harrison has offered clues that he is serious about protecting his turf, and a more complicated man than we see in games. On Jan. 4, 2003, before kickoff of an AFC wild-card game at the Meadowlands, Harrison was catching passes from Manning as Jets ball boys shagged punts from New York's Matt Turk. One of them, a 23-year-old Long Islander named Matt Prior, threw a ball downfield that bounced near Harrison. According to a New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority report—and two people on the field—No. 88 felt the toss violated his personal space. He charged Prior, bumping him in the chest.

"You threw the ball at me!" Harrison screamed. "You're a professional! You should do your job better than that!" Everyone on the field froze. Prior asked Harrison to back away. Instead, Harrison grabbed Prior by the throat and lifted him off the ground. While fans watching on the stadium's video screen chanted for their ball boy to fight back, players and workers tried to separate the two. As Harrison argued with security, Prior was taken to a medical station, where marks were found around his neck. "This was a violent incident," says Dan Santos, security manager at the Meadowlands that day. "Coaches tried to downplay it, but we were one step from making an arrest." In the end, though, Prior decided not to press charges; he just wanted an apology he never got. The NJSEA referred the incident to state police, who didn't pursue it.

That wasn't the only time Harrison drew looks from law enforcement. On the evening of Feb. 10, 2005, three nights before the Pro Bowl, he and two men were walking along a row of stores at the Hilton Hawaiian Village hotel in Honolulu. According to a police report—and a witness—Harrison was talking on his cell when a group of teenage fans asked for his autograph. Harrison declined, and when the fans kept pestering him, he and his friends turned on them. The Pro Bowler took a swing at one fan, then grabbed him by the throat and put an arm around his neck. After more scuffling, Harrison and his friends ran off, leaving one of the teenagers beaten. "I was walking about three feet behind these kids," the witness told The Magazine. "Harrison and his friends acted like real punks."

Despite the police report, Honolulu's prosecuting attorney didn't press charges. "We couldn't prove them beyond a reasonable doubt," says deputy prosecutor Renee Sonobe Hong. And once again, hardly anyone took notice.

It seems that the NFL has either been hiding something from the rest of the world or the media at the time decided not to taint their little golden duo of Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison with such exploits. I find it hard to beleive that this wasn't a prime time story plastered all over the news when it happend, with all the eye witnesses and first hand sources. None of the sources were even anonymous and the story still had little to no, media buzz. Interesting!

Once again, selective media at its finest.

Thus far this off season, Dallas has made a number of cuts that were warrented and expected, even if Jerry Jones opened his mouth a little bit too soon concerning his coaching staff. Where does Dallas go from here? The top topic at the moment is getting rid of Terrell Owens. Why? Because he had a down or unproductive year? 1000+ yards and 10 touchdowns may be down for him but is most definatly not unproductive. How about because of team chemistry? I don't think so but many fans and media members would disagree. Did the Cowboys have chemistry in 2007 when they went 13-3? Yes.

What happened then?

It started when Dallas lost Kyle Kosier on the offensive line. They bring in Cory Procter which is a poor substitute. Add in the fact that Jason Garrett hasn't learned to adjust his blocking scheme and WHAM, you lose Tony Romo. By this point, Dallas has already lost Felix Jones, which he wasn't really being used very much to begin with but a major loss none the less. Once Romo is out of the picture, bring on Brad Johnson and Roy E. Williams. Johnson is an ageless wonder who's age has completely caught up with him. Williams, already known for being lazy and not learning the play book with Detroit, comes in and, in a skocking turn of events, doesn't learn the playbook. He was the most non-effective player in the league this year. Romo comes back off his injury and plays well, but as the defensive schemes get stronger (Steelers, Ravens and Eagles more specifically) Romo starts to feel that pressure. With his misadjusted pinky and no time to make the big plays down field, Romo is forced to throw on the run and often to his check down, Jason Witten. He doesn't even have the time to make it to his second read before he drops the ball or gets dropped. Thus, the demise of the Cowboys in 2008. Then, out of left field, Romo and Garrett basically get a pass and the entire weight of the Cowboy nation falls down onto TO. All of the sudden, he is bad news again. The punnishment doesn't fit the crime. The only passionate player on the Cowboys roster and he is the scape goat. I now understand why fans are fans and have no business making any desision for a franchise.

Next season, the expectation will be the same as this one for the Cowboys' fans. The media will not hold the Cowboys in as high esteem, but when has anyone really cared what media members really think. They are fans too. With their own bias agendas. They will attempt to hide it but they will fail as always. Here is to you, Ed Werder. May Dallas bring you, your well deserved dessert next season... humble pie.


Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: January 21, 2009 5:04 pm

Battle Scars 1st Edition - Media Bias & T.O.

Harrison?  The NFL's little angel?  Who knew?  Now I do.  Thanks for the info.

As for TO, he will always be TO.  Does he get more than his fare share of attention?  Yes, but many times he brings it on himself.  If he kept his trap shut, he would not draw all of the attention, nagative or positive.  End of story.

Since: Jul 8, 2008
Posted on: January 21, 2009 4:17 pm

Battle Scars 1st Edition - Media Bias & T.O.

I completely agree with you, Brew,  that if a team takes on a personality like Terrell Owens' that they need strong leadership within the team and the coaching staff to keep him from being a distraction. Dallas, unfortunatly, does not have that at the moment, so Owens' personality is personified. That shouldn't make him the scape goat though.

Tony Romo, thus far, has had a pass on his play, expecially in December. I, by no means, want to get rid of him, but, again, stronger leadership from the coaching staff would help him control his mistakes and make better decisions on the field.

Dallas had a multitude of injuries to key personel and very little depth behind them. Romo, Kyle Kosier (RG) and Roy L. Williams are a few players that went down and had players like Brad Johnson, Cory Proter, Pat Watkins, Courtney Brown and Tra Battle replacing them, and they were far down the talent ladder. Even in the case of Williams, the three players backing him up were hardly effective at any aspect of their game.

My major point this off season is to not pull blame away from Owens, because he wasn't the complete solution, but to paint the bigger picture that Dallas would not be better off without him because the media paints a very Picaso like picture of his contributions in Dallas. If Dallas fixes their foundation issues then all the T.O. issues go away. Dallas needs:

  • Leadership and
  • Discipline

Once those two fundamental principles have been instilled into the organization then, I believe that the Cowboys will function as a team and live up to their expectations.

As for the media's bias approach to headline news. Well, nothing short of an act of "God" will ever fix that. ESPN is more disfunctional than the Lions, Raiders and Browns rolled into one.

Since: Sep 27, 2007
Posted on: January 21, 2009 3:50 pm

Battle Scars 1st Edition - Media Bias & T.O.

TO may not be the villain that he is portrayed in the media but he made himself a target at some point in his career (or several.)  Thare is something, in my opinion, unlikeable about TO unless you are a fan of the team that he is on...until he does screw up the chemistry and then he's the fall guy to too high of a degree.  People need to know how to deal with a personality like his before picking him up.

The Cowboys did underachieve this season.  There needs to be a reason and the media has to have a scapegoat and his name is Terrell Owens.  I'm not a Cowboys fan and I am not aware of the injuries to the line, only the high profile injuries such as Tony Romo and Felix Jones.

Thanks for the info on Marvin Harrison...I was not aware of any other situations in the past but that certainly is an eye opener.  The media has been too leniant in their coverage of the Harrison case and need to focus on the point that his gun was used to shoot a man on his property.

In the end, I think the Cowboys will hold on to Owens and realize that his talent outweighs his distraction.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or