An Apology in Triplicate

On behalf of the media, I apologize. In fact, the plate of crow I eat today is actually a three-course meal, and the napkin I tuck under my chin is a size-XXXL.

The issues worthy of media apologies are better known by the names of Tony Romo, Justin Beriault and Terrell Owens. Now, I'm not responsible for all the wobbly media thinking involved here; in two of the cases, I am actually the de facto apologist, my mea culpas offered as favors to two media brothers. (And by the way, I mention Randy and Mickey by name because, well, they can take it.)

Plate of Crow No. 1: Good ol' Randy Galloway of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram pronounces that the Cowboys have themselves a "QBC -- a quarterback controversy.''

Randy is back from vacation -- just in time, by the way, as the DFW papers could use a little old-fashioned pot-stirring -- and wasted no time after landing in Oxnard to proclaim this "Camp Romo.'' To buy into the idea that Romo is now "the buzz of the league.'' To tell readers to "Put me in the small camp of those who think Romo should be turned loose as the starter because this isn't a Super Bowl contender, so, finally, get on with the process of finding out if this kid can play.''

And there, in one sentence, Randy Galloway demotes Drew Bledsoe and the Cowboys to the outhouse and Tony Romo to the penthouse.

This is a joke, right? A Cuervo-fueled joke? "Nobody does (quarterback controversies) better than us, even if I say so myself,'' writes Randy, maybe a hint to the reader that this whole column is a lark. But he also writes of "speculation that Parcells was allowing the kid to challenge Drew Bledsoe for the starting job.''

Randy does qualify some of this by kidding, "I don't believe in extensive research. ...'' But Galloway goes on to include a quote about something or other in a paragraph in which he references a media buddy of his named Steve Dennis. Randy writes: "Bledsoe. ... told Channel 5's Steve Dennis after the game he "certainly expects to start" Monday night in Shreveport.'' Um. ... Steve Dennis doesn't work for Channel 5. He works for DFW's CBS11. Oh, and Steve also co-hosts a radio-talk show in Dallas ON THE SAME STATION THAT RANDY'S ON.

"I don't believe in extensive research,'' indeed. Plate of Crow No. 2: in-house man Mickey Spagnola portrays the premature retirement of Justin Beriault as some sort of crime against humanity.

"This one hurts, really, really hurts,'' writes the always-folksy Mick, noting that injuries will end Beriault's career after just two training-camp tries at making the team. Spagnola continues, terming Justin "a really nice Midwestern kid'' and a potential "fan favorite, small-school guy makes good, playing safety, special teams guy, wearing No. 40. It was all there.''

And, says Mick: "There are probably more critical football stories to the 2006 season. ... But this one, I don't know, this one pulls at the heartstrings.''

I'm betting Mickey developed a relationship of sorts with young Justin, and having been there, that does add a wrinkle of emotion -- and is well within the author's rights. And I don't doubt Justin's nice-guy qualities.

But. ...

Justin Beriault's greatest strength, I guess, was his assumed Bill Bates-ishness (as Mick alludes to with his "guy wearing No. 40'' thing). But the kid never really played, and therefore never really demonstrated that! I mean no disrespect to Justin or to Mickey when I wonder if we're so desperate for The Next Bill Bates that we're going to carve out for Justin Beriault a special place in Cowboys lore?

Why would this guy's inability to play pro football "pull at the heartstrings'' any more than hundreds or even thousands of other guys and their stories? Frankly, there are only surface reasons to think Justin Beriault was going to be a player. And as unintentional as it may be, those surface reasons only go skin-deep -- if you get my meaning.

Plate of Crow No. 3: Yours truly keeps keeping the faith regarding Terrell Owens. Mort says it's a problem. Peter King says it's a problem. SportsCenter cannot exist without a T.O. update and an explanation of what a problem he is. EVERYBODY in the media says it's a problem, and that Mount Parcells is about to blow.

And I keep saying that the date to REALLY worry about Terrell's hammy -- and/or his head -- is sometime nearer the beginning of September. Is it possible that the rest of the media is wrong and that I'm right?

Given the track record outlined above? Yeah, it is possible that the bulk of the media is wrong. And for that -- for them, for us -- I apologize.

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