Integrity Matters
November 23, 2005

Owens' big ego cost him dearly

Question: (E-213)

Dear Jim:

Terrell Owens' self-destructive behavior got him removed from the Philadelphia Eagles football team, where he was being paid millions of dollars. Is he off his rocker?


Whether or not Terrell Owens is off his rocker, he definitely has been tossed from his locker - at least in Philadelphia. What a pathetic misuse of talent. Even so, his meltdown provides another occasion to learn about integrity-centered behavior. What did he do that was so wrong? He treated those around him shabbily.

Will Rogers often prefaced his remarks with: "I only know what I have read in the newspaper." Were he living today, he might add: " ... or heard on the radio or saw on television."

What I know about Terrell Owens is primarily from television and printed stories, where he appears with a large number of dramatic contradictions. Owens is talented and immature, rich and foolish, and always very full of himself. His ego has cost him dearly in tainted reputation and squandered opportunities.

Ron Borges, of the Boston Globe, wrote: "The Eagles' mistake was that they thought Owens would be grateful ... that ... they'd saved him from a quarterback-less exile with the Baltimore Ravens and (he would) be thankful for their help.

"Terrell Owens does not see the world as a place where people give him a helping hand toward success. He sees it as a place he dominates by talent and a willfulness that has finally gotten him into some very hot water."

According to one of our successful business clients, when irritation factors outweigh performance, change is inevitable.

Owens' ego appears out of control. He offended his company's leadership. He lost his place on his team, possibly ending a promising career. Unfortunately, he is neither the first nor the last fool with talent.

Those with talent, including money, power, ability and opportunity must:

  • Show genuine appreciation for God-given talent and opportunity.
  • Respect and support colleagues.
  • Honor rules of engagement.
  • Share the spotlight, graciously.
  • Model integrity-centered behavior.
Or, risk losing it all.

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