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Bipolar News

January 29, 2005

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Super-saturation could use a T.O.

The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.) (via Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service); 1/28/2005

Byline: Michael Lev

It's not TV. It's T.O.

We're still several days away from the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots touching down in Jacksonville, Fla. _ and, at that point, another week away from the Super Bowl itself _ and already Terrell Owens is the No.1 topic of conversation on every national sports media outlet.

Will the injured Eagles receiver play, or won't he?

Fact is, no one knows for certain at this point, including Owens. But that doesn't stop us media types from taking our best guesses and micro-analyzing a story that only will grow as Super Bowl XXXIX approaches.

ESPN was all over the Owens story Wednesday, as you would expect. At least some of the all-sports network's personalities were aware of their role in this latest example of Super-saturation.

Co-host Michael Wilbon opened ESPN's "Pardon the Interruption" on Wednesday by joking: "My doctor has cleared me to do today's show."

Co-host Tony Kornheiser then introduced the first segment: "We begin today with Terrell Owens again. Again, again and again."

The PTI guys later interviewed Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, and the first question, of course, was about Owens.

McNabb confirmed that Owens didn't practice Wednesday _ actual news! _ then kidded about personally examining the X-rays of Owens' damaged leg.

"I'm going to give him a one- to two-week deal," McNabb said, and his word is as good as anybody's.

Next up on ESPN: "SportsCenter." Or, as co-host Dan Patrick called it, "T.O.-Center."

The show started with a sound bite from Owens himself, then one from former Philadelphian Charles Barkley. Two reporters filed updates from Philly. Patrick interviewed an Eagles beat writer. The PTI guys chimed in again.

After a 20-minute break for other news of the day (as if anything could trump T.O.), Patrick interviewed Carolina Panthers receiver Steve Smith, who missed most of the season because of a similar injury.

Finally, Brian Kenny asked another injured player, St. Louis Rams tackle Kyle Turley, about Owens' situation on the "Budweiser Hot Seat."

At that point I needed a beer, or at least a TO (i.e., timeout) from all the T.O. talk. But there's as little chance of that happening as for Owens to play in the game.

I don't know that. I'm just speculating, along with everyone else.


ESPN's Andrea Kremer is living proof that actual journalism still has a place, albeit tiny, in today's television landscape.

Kremer conducted an exclusive interview with Marisa Robbins, wife of troubled ex-Oakland Raider Barret Robbins, that ran on Wednesday's 3p.m. "SportsCenter" and will be repeated on Sunday's 8 p.m. show as part of a more in-depth piece.

The interview is both compelling and revealing, as Marisa details what it has been like to live with someone who has bipolar disorder. Her account of visiting her husband in Miami, where he is in a hospital and under arrest after a violent altercation with police, is particularly harrowing.


A couple of golf notes: CBS will broadcast the inaugural HSBC Women's World Match Play Championship from Gladstone, N.J., on July 2 and 3. NBC, meanwhile, extended its contract with the United States Golf Association. NBC will be the broadcast home of the various U.S. Open tournaments through 2014. . . .

NFL Network is dubbing its Super Bowl coverage as "Everything but the Game." Highlights include on-site broadcasts of "NFL Total Access;" live coverage of news conferences featuring the teams and Commissioner Paul Tagliabue; and, this Sunday, half-hour recaps from NFL Films on each of the previous 38 Super Bowls.

(c) 2005, The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.).

Visit the Register on the World Wide Web at

Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

For information on republishing this content, contact us at (800) 661-2511 (U.S.), (213) 237-4914 (worldwide), fax (213) 237-6515, or e-mail

COPYRIGHT 2005 The Orange County Register

Former Raiders' Robbins, Romanowski in the throes of controversy.

San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.) (via Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service); 1/27/2005

Byline: Mark Purdy

SAN JOSE, Calif. _ Was it really a mere two years ago?

Yes. Just two years ago this week, the Oakland Raiders played in Super Bowl XXXVII. In the preceding days, they participated in interview sessions held in a huge room adjoining the team hotel.

No one looked more uncomfortable in that room than Barret Robbins. No one looked more comfortable than Bill Romanowski.

Robbins, the huge center, sat at his table and perspired nervously.

Romanowski, the veteran linebacker, held court with writers and plugged his favorite nutritional zinc pill, distributed by a small Bay Area concern called BALCO.

Today, the two men are out of football but back in the news. The difference this time: Neither is talking.

Robbins can't. He is in a Florida hospital, heavily sedated and hooked up to intravenous tubes, after being shot twice in the torso while wrestling with police officers.

Romanowski? He's simply keeping his mouth shut in the wake of a former teammate's $3.8 million lawsuit against him, charging that a vicious attack by Romanowski on a Raiders practice field in 2003 ended that teammate's career.

The two ex-Raiders also have something else in common. More than a year ago, they tested positive for THG, the magic steroid that was dispensed by BALCO.

Robbins and Romanowski. How easy it was to forget them. They are the BALCO lodge members who have flown under the steroid radar as the whole messy case has unfolded. Instead, the sexy baseball names of Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi received top billing _ just above the Olympic stars who were in the spotlight because of last summer's Athens Games.

But the BALCO merry-go-round just won't quit. Now, Robbins and Romanowski must get off and face the scrutiny. It is amazing how one little laboratory, located in a sterile and washed-out strip mall near the San Francisco airport, has produced such trauma and anguish and slime and horror.

We need to confront all of it, though, and learn some lessons. If you are a parent and can't seem to scare your kids off the steroid temptation _ after the baseball guys were cheered for their home run feats _ take this advice:

Switch channels. Look at football.

Robbins is the saddest story in sports. He has a bipolar mental disorder, which played a part in his ditching the Raiders and going off on a Tijuana bender on that infamous Super Bowl eve two years ago. The Raiders stuck with Robbins as he tried to deal with his illness, but cut him last summer, his knee falling apart and the BALCO taint upon him.

Ever since, according to his estranged wife, Robbins' life has been a nightmare of madness. He was hiding in the women's restroom of a Miami office building when police tried to question him and set in motion the tragic shooting. Robbins' wife told ESPN she doubts he even knew he was in Florida.

No one is saying that BALCO steroids caused Robbins' mental problems. But the stuff surely didn't help. In other sports, it is not uncommon to see a player's other demons exacerbated by a steroid hangover. The death of baseball star Ken Caminiti last summer is one example. Another former Raider, Lyle Alzado, was absolutely convinced that steroids revved up the brain cancer that killed him in 1992 at 42.

Romanowski, apparently, has escaped any physical damage from his THG feast. After retiring last summer, he has done some TV commentary, has played a role in a remake of "The Longest Yard," and has written an autobiography for which he was paid a $275,000 advance.

But his retirement is about to get less fun. Lawyers for Marcus Williams, the ex-Raiders tight end who was sucker-punched in practice by Romanowski, contend that "steroid rage" might have been behind the attack. By the time they're finished with Romanowski, those glamorous movie roles and television jobs will be much harder for him to find. And let's keep an eye on how his body handles the steroid hangover as he grows older.

By pure coincidence, the sagas of Robbins and Romanowski have taken such awful turns just as another Super Bowl approaches. But some of us will be there next week, doing those mass interviews. And we will wonder:

Has anybody learned anything from the heartbreak and idiocy of the BALCO lodge brothers? Or is there another Romanowski or Robbins in one of those rooms?

(c) 2005, San Jose Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.).

Visit, the World Wide Web site of the Mercury News, at

Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

For information on republishing this content, contact us at (800) 661-2511 (U.S.), (213) 237-4914 (worldwide), fax (213) 237-6515, or e-mail

COPYRIGHT 2005 San Jose Mercury News

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