It’s easy to be conflicted on Terrell Owens. On one hand, he’s a self-destructive, irresponsible, absent father with an addiction to attention — which is probably what landed him on an episode of “Dr. Phil” that taped Monday and aired Tuesday afternoon.
But on the other hand, you have to wonder how much of an impact a difficult upbringing and potential issues with mental health have had on Owens’ life.
As Owens took a verbal lashing from three of his “baby mamas” on the syndicated television program yesterday, I found myself inexplicably feeling sorry for him. Maybe it was the sad look in his eyes — Owens cried less than five minutes into the show — combined with the aforementioned elements.
I wanted to walk away from the episode believing that Owens was the clear villain in this saga, but it’s impossible to determine who’s being truthful in a 44-minute window. That’s probably why Dr. Phil McGraw didn’t even attempt to decipher if something’s wrong with T.O.’s head (I have a strong suspicion that there is).
It’s also why we didn’t get a chance to determine whether the three baby mamas — he has four but only three appeared — are gold diggers. Owens claimed that “the kids are not getting all that money.” He might be right, but there’s no way to know in this setting.
They did take a look at Owens’ upbringing. He grew up not knowing his father for much of his childhood, and there’s that infamous story about him flirting with a girl who turned out to be his half-sister. So serial impregnation runs in the family.
What’s becoming obvious is that Owens appears to be a remarkably good liar. The women on this show made him out to be a heartless monster, but his public persona doesn’t send that message at all. On “Dr. Phil,” he felt a victim as much as a culprit.
We didn’t have enough time to get to the bottom of anything. We don’t know the motives of the women who claim they aren’t getting the child support money promised from Owens. We don’t know how much money Owens has left, but he’s apparently lost most of it. Yeah, he claims he’s lost a large amount of the $67 million he made during his NFL career on whatever the hell you can possibly lose $67-plus million on, but is that supposed to make us feel sorry for him?
I tuned into Tuesday’s show for the potential entertainment value, not to see Owens reconcile with his three former girlfriends — or whatever they were. That’s the reality here — no one except maybe the three mothers expected things to go any differently.
Owens went on the show to remain in the spotlight. There’s really no other way to explain it. He had to know it would reflect badly on him that he wasn’t supporting his kids because he’d pissed away all of his money.
“Anybody that knows me, they know I don’t live that extravagant life,” he told McGraw. “Do I like nice things? Yeah, but you’re not gonna see me popping bottles in the club, doing this, that and the other where I blow a lot of my money.” Fine, but is that why you came on national television? Who really cares how you’re blowing your money. The point is that it’s been blown.
He claimed his busy schedule and geography prevented him from making visits to the kids, some of whom he hadn’t seen in over a year, but the telephone and Internet make that argument moot.
Owens continues to apply the “any publicity is good publicity” mantra to the way he lives his life. And as long as that’s the case, sadly, we’ll stay entertained while he continues his struggle.
I’m also guessing that such idiotic endeavors will continue to keep Owens from fulfilling his goal of returning to the NFL.