Spit Happens

And, I'll give you one guess who lobbed the loogie in Saturday's Cowboys-Falcons game. Yep. Your hero and mine: Terrell Owens.

I should be applauding Dallas' gritty victory in Atlanta, acknowledging the Cowboys' clinching of a playoff berth and previewing the Christmas Day showdown with the Philadelphia Eagles that will determine the NFC East champion. But instead, like the rest of the pigskin planet, we're left again shaking our heads and wagging our fingers at T.O.

Seems like I just bad-blogged Owens, but again, that was way back on Friday. Another day, another disaster. In the first quarter of Saturday night's game Owens and Falcons cornerback DeAngelo Hall begin, ya know, like you do, jawin'. Owens, however, punctuated his "yo mama wears Army boots" by spitting in Hall's face. Like child molesters in the big house, spitters are condemned even by sports' baddest boys.

T.O., who admitted to the spitting in a post-game interview on NFL Network, explained that "he kept buggin' me...kept getting in my face...kept aggravatin' me." Let the record show the incident occurred on the game's sixth play. Since no official saw the infraction and no penalty was called, Owens won't be suspended. There is precedent, however, for a hefty fine.

In a playoff game last season, Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor was fined $17,500 for spitting on a Tampa Bay Buccaneer, and Denver Broncos linebacker Bill Romanowski was charged $7,500 for a similar stunt back in '97. T.O., of course, welcomes the fine because it comes with publicity -- he doesn't give a damn if it's good or bad -- and a chance to talk about his favorite subject, T.O. Maybe the children's book author will address his next installment, Little T Learns To Grow Up and Stop Being a Self-Serving Shithead. Maybe he'll talk about playing against Eagles quarterback Jeff Garcia, whom he labeled "gay" when the two were 49'ers teammates. Maybe he'll go on and on and on about his injured finger and how he's sacrificing his health for the good of the team.

Or perhaps he'll explain how his touchdown celebration -- arms straight out for a "T" and together over his head for an "O" -- promotes team unity. And, just maybe, finally, we'll all hide behind our plastic Gallagher protection sheet and call bullshit. Because the Cowboys have matured into an entertaining, gutsy and Super Bowl-contending team. They might just win the championship. But with T.O., they won't win it with class. --Richie Whitt

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