. . . Thursday November 18, 2004

Are You Ready for Some Hypocrisy?

Just when you thought the phony hubbub surrounding the Monday Night Football towel drop couldn’t get any more ridiculous, there’s this:

Terrell Owens has apologized.

“I felt like it was clean, the organization felt like it was a clean skit and I think it just really got taken out of context with a lot of people and I apologize for that. Personally I didn’t think it would have offended anyone and, if it did, I apologize.”

It has been taken out of context, of course. Owens assumed that the skit was taking place within the context of the friggin’ NFL, not an episode of Barney. What’s important to note here is that in our new, hyper-moral society, Owens is apologizing for catching a woman in his arms. He has never apologized for being a terrible role model for young kids or abandoning any hint of good sportsmanship. He has never apologized for being a lousy teammate. He has never apologized for the wanton homophobia he has exhibited in the media. But he caught the girl, so now he’s sorry. Absurd.

Catching a towel-less Nicolette Sheridan may have been the first decent thing Owens has done since joining the NFL.

Look, no one is sorry.

ABC is not sorry. They want viewers for their show and after all this nonsense, they will get them in numbers like they never imagined. The NFL is not sorry. MNF’s ratings have been on the decline lately and any buzz is good buzz. And let’s be realistic. The NFL sells beer, Viagra, sex and brutality each and every week. Is an actress dropping her towel (and not showing that much) any more humiliating or offensive than showing cheerleader cleavage cutaways after each big play? Please.

Even the FCC is not sorry. They get to focus their public statements on pleasing the newly empowered religious right. Who cares about the the consolidation of all media into a few hands when we’ve got exposed skin to consider.

This towel dropping was good for everyone except those who have googled Nicolette Sheridan and Terrell Owens only to find that the bit wasn’t even titillating. And there are a lot of those people. I wrote about the incident a couple of days ago and searches for some variation of Nicolette and Terrell are currently accounting for more than 75% of all Davenetics traffic. If that’s you, bookmark the site while you’re here. I’ll be dropping my towel shortly.

Colt’s coach Tony Dungy has even used this incident to play the race card. He implied that a white owner or player would never have been asked to catch the naked girl. Hey, there are a lot of racist things about the NFL (Dungy, as one of the only black coaches in the league, knows that as well as anyone). But Owens was selected because he is the Eagle’s biggest star. And his unbridled narcissism added the extra layer of suspense that he might actually have dropped the girl.

The NFL celebrates grown men (mostly black) hitting each other with violent force. The selling of the NFL dream (of playing, not coaching or owning) in ghettos across America might be racist. A black guy hugging a white woman is not. The beatings that these players take is incredible. Emmitt Smith has compared his career in the NFL to getting into a major car accident once a week for more than a decade. But violence and sportsmanship and tolerance aren’t on the current list of moral values. A undressed woman is. There you have it.

On Sunday, before the Pittsburgh-Cleveland game, two opposing players got into a fist-fight in front of the television cameras. No one was worried about the message that sent to young kids. No one from the network or the NFL apologized. In fact, they showed the fight over and over throughout the game and beyond. But a little flesh is just too much to take.

Maybe it’s about time we protected our kids from hypocrisy. It’s a topic that’s a whole lot harder to explain than the mere suggestion of a bare ass.

Concentration is important!