- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 17, 2005

We wait in eager anticipation of LaVar Arrington’s next public comments.

He is not talking for now, which means he is either misunderstood or embittered or swallowed a canary.

We cannot be certain which it is, for he has hit the mute button.

He has not revealed if he is planning to take it one play at a time or one game at a time this season.

So we are maintaining this lonely candlelit vigil on Waxpool Road in the hope that one day Arrington will grace us with his compelling insights.

We wait with a tear in one eye and a twinkle in the other.

Our world is not complete until an athlete comes down from his mountaintop and reveals the meaning of life.

It was this way with Sean Taylor after he finally broke his silence at the start of training camp.

“I don’t think anybody should have regrets, especially me,” he said, which was a peculiar position, given the regrettable legal issue before him.

Taylor is not worried about going to jail. Nope. Not at all.

You, me, the guy down the street — we would be worried about going to jail. But not Taylor.

“That’s why we’ve got judges,” he said. “We’ve got trials. We’ve got people who make decisions [about] what goes on in court. I’m not worried about anything. That’s something for them to handle.”

Perhaps that explains the reluctance of Arrington to dispense his innermost views.

Athletes sometimes say the darnedest things and then have the temerity to be upset if you snicker in print.

Athletes can be funny that way. They do not worry about going to jail or having 10 children by eight women. But then they worry about what is written in a newspaper that will be wrapping fish or lining a birdcage by nightfall.

Alimony payments? No problem. Potential jail term? Easy.

Someone in a newspaper column suggests that vigilante justice only works on the big screen, starring the late Charles Bronson? Now that is a serious concern to an athlete.

So an Arrington or a Taylor will impose a media boycott, as if each is engaged in the practice of preserving state secrets.

This is always amusing from afar, although annoying to those who traffic in sound bites and notebooks.

Whenever Arrington finally acquiesces to a media request — and all boycotters eventually acquiesce — his precious morsels will be blasted far and wide.

And it will be something in the manner of Arrington saying: “We need to stay focused this season.”

Terrell Owens, of course, is the opposite. He is the wind-up talking doll who will say anything. Just yank his chain and out comes a series of big, bold headlines.

Owens — like Dennis Rodman before him — learned a long time ago that all press, good or bad, is all good in the end, so long as your name is being spelled correctly and there are no dead bodies.

In the cacophony of the 24/7 news cycle these days, you almost are obligated to shout to be noticed.

Just the other day, while flipping through the cable news outlets, a middle-aged guy was shouting about the goings-on in that day’s stock market.

This stock was UP, and that stock was DOWN, and INTEREST RATES ARE CLIMBING, and you had the feeling he was thinking, “I know this looks foolish, but I have to attract viewers.”

The media boycott has come to be almost an anachronism from a more innocent time, for no one pays much attention to anyone for very long. There is just so much percussion-like stuff flooding the airwaves that you have to be T.O.-like to resonate.

Years ago with the Redskins, someone by the name of Otis Wonsley imposed a boycott on the media, which went unnoticed for the longest time, because he was a 10th-string running back who merited a query from a reporter maybe twice a season.

It was his loss, as it usually is for those who relinquish their free speech to others.

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