Terrell Owens.

That name seems to bring a reaction out of sports fans. Some people hate him (well, most people hate him). Other people love him. If you are a Dallas Cowboys fan, it’s probably a little of both. I guarantee that everyone is tired of him.

But there is a third way to look at the recent events in the TO saga. Let’s look at the checklist:

• Got into an altercation with Cowboys receivers coach Todd Haley.

• It was reported that he often falls asleep in team meetings, a story that he parodied after catching a touchdown pass last Sunday, laying down in the end zone and snoozing with the ball as a pillow.

• TO dropped a sure touchdown pass in that same game. The clip ran on every NFL highlight show despite the fact that it was a thrilling game that had literally dozens of clutch plays that were made.

• Do I even need to mention his recent “suicide attempt,” which was not only scrutinized far too much, but was the only recent news story that made me feel dumber as I continued to follow it.

Well, except the elections.

When I was young, there was this kid named Carrie McCart.

Yeah, I know she was a girl. Anyway, she used to call me names, make fun of the size of my ears (no, I DO NOT get HBO on these things) and steal my Ninja Turtles fruit snacks at lunch time.

I told my mom and she wasn’t shocked, but she didn’t seem overly concerned.

“Just ignore her and she’ll go away.”

I tried the next day and she pulled my hair, pinched my wrist and made sure I got picked last in kickball.

“Just ignore her and she’ll go away.”

She turned up the abuse to unheard of levels over the next few weeks. But finally, she moved on to another kid after he peed his pants in art class.

I am telling this story because the overexposure of Terrell Owens is as much our fault as his.

When I say that, I mean all of us. The media, the fans, the fantasy football players (I was waiting to see “Terrell Owens questionable for week 6 overdose)” on my fantasy roster. All of us.

Just ignore him and he’ll go away.

I think what we forget is that football is Terrell Owens job. I get paid to write about local sports. Mike Hutsell gets paid to boss me around and steal the McRibs from my hungry mouth.

I know it’s a stretch, but imagine if you got so much scrutiny at your job.

So when you get into a fight with your boss, instead of it leading to gossip at the water cooler, it turns into the lead story on ESPN.

Imagine falling asleep during a company meeting, one of those all-day affairs where people point to graphs and charts and expect you to applaud for complete strangers. Now it’s on cnn.com.

And try to think of a time where you messed up. You blew a big presentation, you came back late from lunch and someone had to cover. You stayed up too late partying and were in no condition to work.

Has any of this stuff happened to you?

Well, these are the sort of things that have happened to TO since he’s become a Dallas Cowboy. Except his mistakes are the fodder of our society of model employees.

What I’m saying is that TO is not so different from the rest of us.

He makes mistakes. He screws up at his job. He’s a fading wide receiver who is doing what it takes to stay in the spotlight and make sure a few extra passes come his way every Sunday.

What I am saying is that if we ignore TO, he’ll go away.

Maybe that’s what he’s always wanted.

Contact Matthew Cress at matthew.cress@newsandtribune.com.

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