T.O. — just give it a rest

I don’t think that T.O. is a real gift to mankind, but I have had enough of the ceaseless vilification of the man. He’s a talented football player, and a deeply disruptive individual, because he’s got profound emotional issues. I’m not one to take the clinical explanation when poor character is more likely to blame, but seriously, this guy is damaged. I read some of the extracts of his book about his childhood, it’s frankly surprising he’s made it this far.

So when people at work refer to him as a cancer, Wilbon calls him a fool, Kornheiser describes him as the devil on national television, it makes me uneasy. Sure the guy is an ass, and I wouldn’t want to work with him, but frankly he’s acting out like a child, and the infantilizing lifestyle of being in the NFL both coddles him from the real world fall-out of his behavior and perversely only reinforces it: there’s nothing sophisticated about man-management in football.

He’s not the devil, he’s not a cancer, he’s a disturbed individual, and railing on him for showing disturbed behavior on teams for which he is hired to help make money is missing the point. Blame the people who engage in a risk-mitigation strategy of his behavior and health balanced against revenue, blame the people who need to sell radio advertising or newspaper advertising, but don’t blame only him. T.O. is a creation of our obsession with sports.

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