A 49er and a star

Oct 6, 2000 at 12:00 AM


As I watched The San Francisco 49er’s enter the house of the Dallas Cowboys September 24th. I never would imagine what I witnessed this day as Number One Wide Receiver Terrell Owens sprinted not once but twice from the end zone following a touchdown to the center of Texas Stadium upon the Dallas Star and celebrate a 49er score.

Never in all my years as a NFL spectator and enthusiast have I seen such a display of selfishness and utter disregard for your opponent as I witnessed that Sunday. Although Dallas has been our arch rival in many years we always left the field of battle with a honest respect for one another, and what each other accomplished on that day of battle.

The history between these two franchises is deep and fantastic as we have both walked away from each other with battered ego’s, bruised bodies, lasting injuries, botched game strategies, glorious finishes and mutual recognition for one another.

As Wide Receiver Terrell Owens stood for the first time and raised his arms to the heavens through the opening in the roof of Texas Stadium upon the beloved Dallas logo, one has to ask himself what was he thinking when doing this senseless act of embarrassment and selfishness.

Certainly as many will agree it was a shocking display as all the fans in the stands inside Texas Stadium and through the airwaves, along with the fine Dallas football athletes that stood on the sidelines, perspired with a hate that could move mountains as they witnessed this odd and intentional celebration.

On Owens defense he claims it was a moment of prayer to God, how believable is that with the spur of the moment celebration. In another quote he says it was to spark the team up, to raise and give attention to our morale.

It certainly did do this, some on the 49er sideline were encouraged and elated to finally see the 49er offense succeed and the scoreboard was tilting in their favor, others could hardly believe the (veterans) at what was taking place was real.

The emotion at that time was so high so encouraging that we translated it into a glorious thing for many, even I was subject to this elation, but as I sat and analyzed it afterwards I realized the seriousness of the matter, the disrespect that was unveiled for all to see in someone else’s house.

Dallas Running Back Emmitt Smith responded to Owens first celebration with his own midfield after a 1-yard touchdown just before halftime. He sprinted out to the Dallas star logo and slammed the touchdown ball where just previously the 49er one had been, to acknowledge that this was the Cowboy’s home.

His glare at the 49er sideline was cold and cutting as his anger and hatred of the moment further justified his need to redeem Dallas at midfield upon the logo he had shed so much blood, sweat, tears and drew inspiration from when in battle.

Terrell Owens responded again like an immature child believing he had to make the last stand and have the last word after Smith had nullified his moment of glory on the Dallas logo. He returned another 49er touchdown ball to the Dallas Star in the fourth quarter barely planting the ball down on the star when from behind a vicious and calculated hit from behind by Safety George Teague took place-knocking Owens from the logo.

Teague then took a shot from 49er’s offensive tackle Derrick Deese while Owens returned to the star and finished his celebratory pose. Teague was ejected and the 49er’s penalized.

“No matter if what Terrell Owens did was right or wrong,” Deese said, “to try to level a guy who’s not even looking is wrong. And so I took off after Teague to protect my guy, We’re family here. He was basically picking on one of my brothers.”

Many even with Deese’s comments wish Owens was hurt on the hit due to the severity the celebration was portrayed as bringing attention to oneself as Owens openly did.

To say Owens was thinking of the team when he did this twice is unrealistic and ridiculous. As all Owens wanted was to have the light of individual accomplishment shining down upon him.

“Maybe at some points we got a little carried away with our emotions. But it’s been a long time coming since this team has won a game,” said 49er’s coach Steve Mariucci, who said he and Dallas coach Dave Campo apologized to each other after the game for their player’s actions. 'We’ve got to learn how to win with some class and as professionals.”

“This is the 49er’s,” said veteran guard Ray Brown. “Whether you think we’re going to the Super Bowl or not, we do it with class, We’re not trying to embarrass anybody.”

Owens apologized to his teammates after the game in the locker room, however afterwards when talking to the media; he refused to offer regret for his actions.

Owens said he “felt badly” that his actions “detracted from what was a great team victory over the Cowboys.”

Wide Receiver Terrell Owens is a tremendous talent and the heir to Jerry Rice’s throne as the premier playmaker on the 49er receiving offense, we all want him to be something like Jerry Rice to make smart and meaningful decisions, to always think of the team first.

However Owens has subjected himself to being a potential target for a lot of opposing teams that are coming our way. Many Pro players will be looking to lay a hurt down on Owens in some form or another, rather they are Dallas sympathizers or not.

“As most of you know, I am an intense and emotional player who is driven to succeed. I also want to make clear that my actions were not intended to taunt or insult the Dallas Cowboys organization; rather I was simply trying to provide my team with a positive spark. Finally, after the game, I stated that I would do the celebration again, but by making that statement, I simply intended to show that I believed my action would be a positive for the team.”

This is what Owens stands firm on and believes, I can come to understand his willingness to want to boost his teammates morale, and that is a commendable thing to do, however it is how you do it is another and this is a clear picture of the most negative way.

The score from Sunday’s game 41-24 was so overshadowed by this dramatization, that the 49er’s had little to celebrate with all the media attention going to Owens.

Head Coach Steve Mariucci had to take action and he did Grounding Owens for one week without pay as punishment for his actions. He has been banned from the team for one week. No practices. No meetings. No film sessions. No game on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. And no paycheck for that game totaling $24,294 dollars lost.

“This is a decision based on how we intend to conduct ourselves here as football players and represent this organization,” Mariucci said Monday in announcing Owens banishment from the team.

Although it is not technically a suspension because he was not removed from the team’s 53-man roster, the message was clear that this type of behavior would not be tolerated by this franchise.

49er Wide Receiver Terrell Owens was most unhappy and probably will carry this unhappiness onto the field afterwards that would be so counterproductive to what we are trying to do.

I am in full support of this punishment, we must carry ourselves with certain integrity and live by a certain conduct. To make a spectacle of you at the cost of the team and the franchise as a whole is a terrible tragedy leaving the franchise with little options but to punish the offender.

Owens is an awesome receiver and deserves his time in the spotlight but not at the expense of all others, I hope this will be a learning experience he will carry with him and succeed even more down the road as a 49er.

Owens leads the 49er’s with 23 catches, 328 yards and four touchdowns, his absence will be a costly one for a team that has won just one game in four tries, but has a good chance on its home field with 1-2 Arizona.

Wide Receivers J.J. Stokes and Tai Streets will step up and receive more playing time; hopefully we will see their talents shine where we have not seen much of either.

With all the hype and the desire to win games the San Francisco 49er’s still are struggling with the thoughts of again not having a playoff caliber team, that we should be as we were in days of old with Steve Young at the helm.

This inflames us to want and desire even more as we see our team trying to establish a real identity, and it is on that road to doing just that. We were built from championship caliber blood and with that we will carry it over into our youth, for it is our whole purpose to win at all costs but with pride and respect for others.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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