Will the real Jesse Jackson please shut up.
So am I the only one saddened by seeing someone who has a legitimate claim to fame as a leading member of the civil rights movement slowly turning himself into a caricature?
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The Rev. Jesse Jackson called the Philadelphia Eagles' punishment of Terrell Owens "much too severe."
Jackson said in a statement released Friday that Owens could have been more professional when he publicly complained about his contract, his team and the Eagles' organization.
But Jackson said Owens' suspension without pay for four games and deactivation for the rest of the season is "much too severe for the charge" and hurts the athlete's NFL career at its height.
The civil rights activist said the level of punishment could have been warranted if Owens had been caught shaving points, selling drugs, carrying a gun or fighting fans without sufficient restraint.
"This does not warrant a one-year ban from the game," Jackson said, adding that the Eagles should release Owens to the open market or free agency if they no longer want to associate with him.
Ralph Nader, a consumer activist and former presidential candidate, has already called for the suspension to be rescinded.
Owens was suspended last week after he said in an interview that the Eagles showed "a lack of class" for not publicly recognizing his 100th career touchdown catch, and that the team would be better off with Green Bay's Brett Favre as quarterback. He has since apologized.
"Terrell Owens did an interview last week and engaged in some unsportsmanlike speech, deemed detrimental to the team, but nonetheless free speech. He expressed some dissatisfaction with his contract, his team and the Eagles' organization, which should have been expressed in a more professional manner. The Eagles have suspended T.O. for four games without pay and have decided to deactivate him for the rest of the year. His future in the National Football League is uncertain, thus potentially ending his career at its heights.
"This punishment is much too severe for the charge. If he had been caught shaving points, selling drugs, carrying a gun or fighting some fans, who provoked him, and he had not shown sufficient restraint, we could understand the severe suspension, because those are very serious and illegal acts. Unfortunately for T.O., who belatedly apologized three days after the infraction, the real question is do his comments warrant a penalty this severe?
"The answer is no. This does not warrant a one-year ban from the game. The NFL Players Association has taken a position that the punishment does not correspond with the infraction and the association wants the Eagles to cut T.O. if they are not going to reinstate him. I agree. T.O. has publicly apologized. His heart is contrite. If the Philadelphia Eagles' owners do not find his apology acceptable and no longer aim to maintain an association with him, they should release him to the open market or free agency, allowing him to test the free market for his services. I call for fairness in this dispute."
Over the last decade or so, Jackson has embraced some of the most stupid and unworthy causes imaginable. This latest bit just continues the trend. Are there no "real" problems for minorities in the US anymore that Jackson can champion?
I think he just has learned to love attention over the years, and can't live without it. Sad really.