Football

In a childish game of wits, here’s why Terrell Owens is winning and the HOF is losing

Terrell Owens plans to become the first player elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame to skip the enshrinement ceremony, which is next month. Instead, he announced that he’ll celebrate his induction at his alma mater, Tennessee Chattanooga.
Terrell Owens plans to become the first player elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame to skip the enshrinement ceremony, which is next month. Instead, he announced that he’ll celebrate his induction at his alma mater, Tennessee Chattanooga. Invision via AP

This is really childish.

There’s Terrell Owens. And then there’s the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The two entities that will forever be linked are in the middle of a temper tantrum contest. But who’s winning?

That’s a complicated question and there are many opinions out there. I, for one, believe Owens is winning from the mere fact that both are losing.

Owens’ beef with the hall of fame is in some ways just, as he’s certainly got the statistical resume of a first-ballot HOFer. Yet, because of his attitude and chronicled volatile relationships with teammates, it has taken three years for him to be elected.

That has prompted him to take a stand as he plans to become the first player elected to the hall to skip the enshrinement ceremony, which is next month. Instead, he announced that he’ll celebrate his induction at his alma mater, Tennessee Chattanooga.

In response, the hall decided it will not recognize him individually. Instead, his only mention will be when the class is referred to as a whole.

Boy, has the hall relinquished the power to him. It’s playing his game now.

Most people are faulting Owens, and I have no problem with that. What else should we have expected from him? This is what he does.

However, I had expected that the Pro Football Hall of Fame would take the high road, given its illustrious reputation. Instead, the hall has lowered itself to T.O.’s level by engaging in a battle of childish behavior.

The hall of fame should be better than this. The entire issue of whether Owens should have been a first-ballot inductee or not was a decision by the HOF Selection Committee, and the members obviously punished him for his reputation by making him wait two years.

Fair enough. They have their reasons. However, to once again punish him for disagreeing with them by refusing to show up, it shows all kinds of pettiness.

Personally, I think hall of fames in general are overrated as so many get in and there’s often odd reasoning behind who gets in and who doesn’t. I also think nowadays we’re seeing more of a referendum on a player’s character rather than just his greatness on the field or court.

Ever heard of Ty Cobb? Yeah, that guy was in the first class of baseball’s hall of fame. Do you also remember how he was known for sharpening his spikes in order to injure fielders when he slid into a base?

Cobb got in without issue, yet Steroid Era greats - who simply took advantage of a loophole - are just seemingly starting to get a foot in the door.

Furthermore, let’s look at a couple of this year’s Pro Football Hall of Fame first-ballot inductees. There’s Ray Lewis, who once was up on murder charges that were later reduced. Then there’s Randy Moss, whose character and maturity were also questioned at times during his career.

So why is T.O. being singled out? I’m not really sure, but it’s not that important in the grand scheme of things.

What is significant is that he’s getting in and his choice to not attend is his right. But the Pro Football Hall of Fame is doing an injustice by not giving him his time in the limelight whether he’s there or not. Instead, there are sour grapes all around.

Again, the hall of fame should be better than this.

Reports have been circling about Owens wanting to resume playing, whether it be via the CFL or NFL, at the age of 44. He’s even posted on social media, indicating that he still can run a 4.45 40-yard dash.

If so, maybe he’ll play a few years in the CFL and wind up a hall of famer there, too.

And perhaps that league’s hall of fame will address him as the grown up in the room.

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