Wednesday, September 27, 2006

So here we have another celebrity being checked out of a hospital, giving the ol’ thumbs up to reporters and being whisked away somewhere for debriefing and whatever else people-handlers do in these situations. “Celebrity” in this case is relative, as I’m talking about Dallas Cowboys football player Terrell Owens.

According to a Detroit Free Press news bulletin, Owens was cut by the Eagles [no, not the band, I doubt this guy can sing... maybe baritone?] and then signed on four days later with the Cowboys earlier this year. His contract? Three years for $25 million and a $5 million signing bonus. There are some mildly interesting, possibly significant things listed as well:

“June 8 — Owens arrives after 5 p.m. for a scheduled 3 p.m. visit with the roughly 60 campers attending the Terrell Owens Youth Football Camp. “I’m sorry I’m late. I’ve been playing for the Dallas Cowboys,” he tells the kids.”

“July 13 — At his first book signing, Owens claims he didn’t say his return in time for the February 2005 Super Bowl was “heroic,” even though that’s what he wrote. He called it one of the words chosen by his co-author.”

“Aug. 25 — Owens is fined $9,500 for missing a team meeting and a rehabilitation session, and being late to an offensive meeting. He later says he overslept. “It’s not a big deal,” he says.”

There’s some junk about an injured hamstring and a recently broken finger as well, but this is football. Injuries are expected. But alright, so here we are on the 27th and this dude has reportedly just tried to off himself with painkillers. The police report stated he had told a friend “that he was depressed,” and after someone tried to intervene he took another 2 pills.

“Publicist Kim Etheredge said in various interviews Wednesday with Dallas-area media that the police have gotten the story wrong. She said she was with Owens, who was having trouble because he'd mixed his pain pills with supplements. She said she called for help because he was becoming unresponsive. ... The Dallas police report said Owens was asked by rescue workers "if he was attempting to harm himself, at which time (he) stated, 'Yes."'

I’d like to know what kind of “supplements” these were. And here’s the kicker:

“"The fact that it has been reported a suicide attempt, he's laughed at that notion. It was a case that medication that was taken wasn't accepted well in his system with the other vitamins he's on," [NFL Network analyst Deion] Sanders said.”

I understand that football players are supposed to be these big, tough, strong, womanizing types but that doesn’t mean they aren’t susceptible to depression and the things that go along with it. Denying and attempting to make light of the situation does a grave injustice [sometimes literally] to people suffering from depression and/or suicidal thoughts. Suicides by toxification [overdose or poisoning] makes up roughly 20% of all cases, and about one million people commit suicide annually.

Couldn’t the NFL, for once, use a scandal to highlight an important issue? Something more important than Janet Jackson’s breasts, salary mal-distribution [they are ALL overpaid in my opinion], or who recently had sex with who and what steroids they’re all on? By turning their backs on “T.O.” they’re potentially turning their backs on hundred of thousands of others who might just end up “O.D.”ing.

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