Wednesday, November 30, 2005

WTF Files - Arlen Specter

I do not often feel the urge to blog about politics and current events but every once in a while I stumble across a bit of news that gets me so spun up I have to say something about it. In this particular case I stumbled across the following news story:

ABC News: Specter of Antitrust: Senator says T.O. mistreated

Nov. 29 PHILADELPHIA — Sen. Arlen Specter has accused the NFL and the Philadelphia Eagles of treating Terrell Owens unfairly, and might refer the matter to the antitrust subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Specter, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, said at a news conference Monday in Harrisburg it was "vindictive and inappropriate" for the league and the Eagles to forbid the star wide receiver from playing and prevent other teams from talking to him.

"It's a restraint of trade for them to do that, and the thought crosses my mind, it might be a violation of antitrust laws," Specter said.

The article ends with:

Specter emphasized that he was "not a supporter of Terrell Owens."

"I am madder than hell at what he has done in ruining the Eagles' season," the Pennsylvania Republican said. "I think he's in flagrant breach of his contract and I believe the Eagles would be within their rights in not paying him another dime or perhaps even suing him for damages."

But Specter said, "I do not believe, personally, that it is appropriate to punish him [by forcing him to sit out the rest of the season]. He's not committed a crime, he's committed a breach of contract. And what they're doing against him is vindictive."

Now for all four of you who don’t know what has been going on with T.O. and the Eagles let me sum it up for you in 12 letters:


He has always been flamboyant and egotistical in a very annoying manner, but it seemed to entertain people, and at the end of the day that is what he is paid to do. I do not mind athletes and the like being egotistical asses. If you have the game to back up the ego then more power to you. I also do not mind the obscene paychecks some of them collect. If they have the star power to put the meat in the seats, God bless ‘em and the owners who feed and care for them.

However over the past couple of years he has spiraled from amusing to irritating to down right rage inducing. Skip Bayless summed it up when he described T.O. as “having a history of creating often inexplicable feuds with executives, coaches and teammates…”

There are times I feel like modern sports is besieged by a ever-swelling number of self-centered morons who masquerade as players but in reality are whiney little titty-babies who have been sent to suck all the sportsmanship and joy out of modern sports. I think it was said best in Mr. Baseball, “Baseball is grown men getting paid to play a game. When you were a kid, I bet you didn’t pick up a bat and ball because you were dying to work. A player’s career is short enough. Let them enjoy it.”

Ultimately the problem with T.O. is that while he is perhaps the most dominating receiver to ever play in the NFL, he causes so many problems with the other coaches and players as to make the game not fun.

(It’s funny how I got distracted from my original point by some infantile need to bitch about T.O. Back to your regularly scheduled post.)

The point of all this is that T.O. is an asshat and epitomizes the very worst aspects of the modern athlete and Arlen Specter feels that the Senate is slow enough to go ahead and take a look at how he is being treated by the NFL. Huh? Did I trip down some rabbit hole and end up in Utopia where the elected representatives of the people have nothing better to do than make sure a spoiled millionaire is treated fairly? There are no more poor people to worry about? No Supreme Court justice hearings on the calendar? Why didn’t someone tell me we were living in Candy Land? I totally would have blown off work today.

Oh wait, no, we are still embroiled in nasty situations in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are still poor and down-trodden and disenfranchised people here in the good old U. S. of A. So what does Arlen do (yeah, I know, old A.S. and I are on a first name basis)? He backs down from his original position, which a couple of experts pointed out was AS-inine, and then refers the case to the Department of Justice:

FOX SPORTS: Specter backs off threat regarding T.O. saga

Sen. Arlen Specter backed off a threat to have a Senate subcommittee investigate whether the NFL and the Philadelphia Eagles violated antitrust laws in their handling of Terrell Owens.

Specter, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Tuesday that he talked to lawyers in the Department of Justice about the issue.

"I think it's more a matter for them than us because we've got ... a lot of matters which take precedence over this for our own time," said Specter, R-Pa.

Now I have to wonder what caused this little about-face by the Honorable Gentleman from the state of not-quite New Jersey? Was it a great disturbance with millions of voices crying out or was it the realization that even with the reactivation of T.O. the Eagles are a long shot to make the Super Bowl? I am willing to bet this will got out with a whimper and the DoJ giving some lip-service to A.S. about looking into it and then nothing ever gets done (yay for breauracracy), but no matter how you slice it, T.O. has got to be happier than a pig in shit, as they say, since in disciplining him for his behavior (which would have gotten his ass fired from any other job) the NFL has turned the myopic gaze of government its way.

Thanks for adding fuel to that particular fire, A.S. It must baffle you as to why God designed you with two feet but only one mouth in which to stick them. Jeeze.

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