If anyone is qualified to comment on T.O.’s frame of mind, it's our man Scoop. In fact, he even wrote an entire column channeling the troubled wideout's private Coney Island of the Mind. So what did Scoop serve up for our delectation? Let's take a peek, shall we.
You always want to give doubt the benefit. The benefit that inside of all three sides to every story, the truth of the matter, even if not found, can be someone's salvation.
Come again, Scoop? You don't mean you always want to give the benefit of the doubt, do you Scoop? On, oh let's say, racial issues? To the athletic director at Notre Dame, perhaps? To the "Revolverlutionary"?
And I assume that's what you mean, the benefit of the doubt. Because the way you mangled that syntax inverted the object of the gift. You see, Scoop - and stop me if I'm using too many big words - it isn't doubt that receives the benefit of, well, whatever the benefit that it’s receiving is in your linguistic playpen. Rather, it's the person (admittedly implied rather than stated) who receives the "benefit" of the "doubt," which is another way of saying you assume the best possible interpretation when there is room for doubt. Capiche?
I know, Scoop, you see clever writers play with language, twisting it round for effect, surprising their readers with unexpected paradoxes. But here's the thing Scoop, the end result still has to mean something. Ideally it should mean something clever, but, at a minimum, it has to mean something. You, on the other hand, are like a boy who sees a chainsaw artist at work and then rushes home to hack the dinner table to bits with his dad's axe. Not the same thing, see?
As to how the truth can be someone's salvation "even if not found," I won't even ask.
When the story broke that Terrell Owens attempted to commit suicide by an overdose of pain medication Tuesday night, the benefit of doubt given to most athletes flew out the window.
Almost there, Scoop! Just need one more definite article.
The "benefit" and "doubt" motif recurs throughout the rest of the article. At this point, though, I don't even care if Scoop understands what it means.
As for the substance of the piece (always an afterthought, given the slog involved in deciphering it), Scoop seems to be of two minds about the situation. And, ever the rebel, Scoop eschews the petty journalistic convention of making his mind up before writing, and gives us the benefit of his doubtful vacillations.
In particular, Scoop can't decide whether T.O. is to be pitied as a victim of a biased media, or blamed as the author of his own victimhood (my new main man JW's take, for what it's worth). At times he appears to blame the media, fans and even the Dallas P.D. for overreacting to the story (though exactly what part of the police's rapid response to a 911 call from a frantic woman and an incoherent man was "overzealous," he leaves unsaid). While at other times he seems to concede that, given the stunts T.O. has pulled in the past, this was his "boy who cries wolf" comeuppance.
These competing intuitions blur beyond recognition when Scoop writes:
As wrong as it was to instantly believe that Owens had attempted suicide, it would be naïve to think that something like this from him wouldn't be far-fetched. And more than the speculation of facts in this story, that's where the true tragedy rests.
If it isn't far-fetched to think a story might be true, why was it wrong to believe it initially? And why is this illogical state of affairs a tragedy (putting aside the ungrammatical nature of that last sentence)?
Either T.O. is an immature punk who has created a situation in which someone might mistake him for being mentally unbalanced, which is far from tragic, or he really has serious mental problems that prompt him to act the way he does. In the latter case, he needs to get help now, before there is a real tragedy. But by dismissing the possibility that T.O. really did attempt suicide ("this falsely-interpreted incident") and by implying that T.O. is mentally secure (exuding "clarity and credibility") while still painting T.O. as the victim of external bias ("the public and the media" don't give him "a chance") and admitting that the fault for this bias might accrue in some part to his "past behavior and antics," Scoop twists himself up into a knot of unresolved contradictions and non sequiturs.
In other words, a typical Scoop column. There may be a subtle point to be made incorporating Scoop's "doubts," but Scoop clearly isn't the man to make it.