It's easy to be conflicted on Terrell Owens. On one hand, he's a self-destructive, irresponsible, absent father with an addiction to attention -- which is probably what landed him on an episode of "Dr. Phil" that taped Monday and aired Tuesday afternoon.
But on the other hand, you have to wonder how much of an impact a difficult upbringing and potential issues with mental health have had on Owens' life.
As Owens took a verbal lashing from three of his "baby mamas" on the syndicated television program yesterday, I found myself inexplicably feeling sorry for him. Maybe it was the sad look in his eyes -- Owens cried less than five minutes into the show -- combined with the aforementioned elements.
I wanted to walk away from the episode believing that Owens was the clear villain in this saga, but it's impossible to determine who's being truthful in a 44-minute window. That's probably why Dr. Phil McGraw didn't even attempt to decipher if something's wrong with T.O.'s head (I have a strong suspicion that there is).
It's also why we didn't get a chance to determine whether the three baby mamas -- he has four but only three appeared -- are gold diggers. Owens claimed that "the kids are not getting all that money." He might be right, but there's no way to know in this setting.
They did take a look at Owens' upbringing. He grew up not knowing his father for much of his childhood, and there's that infamous story about him flirting with a girl who turned out to be his half-sister. So serial impregnation runs in the family.
What's becoming obvious is that Owens appears to be a remarkably good liar. The women on this show made him out to be a heartless monster, but his public persona doesn't send that message at all. On "Dr. Phil," he felt a victim as much as a culprit.