I don’t find myself agreeing with Mike Florio a lot. Frankly, if I didn’t have this job, I wouldn’t even follow Pro Football Talk. But every so often he gets something right, and one of those occasions came up recently in my opinion as it concerns the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s handling of Terrell Owens, the member of the Hall of Fame Class of 2018 that they intend to actively shun.
Owens, who ranks second or third and most meaningful wide receiver statistics in NFL history, even ahead of fellow 2018 classmate Randy Moss, was not voted in until his third year of eligibility (while Moss went in during his first).
While they tried to avoid actively acknowledging that many voters were reluctant to vote for him because of his behavior, that has been made abundantly and openly clear over the past few weeks. Owens announced that he would not attend the enshrinement ceremony, and voters put their names to quotes saying that, as a result, they wished they could have their votes back.
That’s not how it works. But I’ve been down that road already, so anyway…
The former great wide receiver revealed that he will be giving his Hall of Fame speech at his alma mater instead of at Canton, explaining that he wanted to be somewhere that meant so much to him over the course of his football journey.
Buy that explanation or not, the Hall of Fame’s plan is basically to act like he is not even a part of the class. As one of the voters who writes for the Talk of Fame Network recently wrote, “Owens will not be introduced for Friday night’s Gold Jacket ceremony, nor will he be announced the following night at Canton’s annual induction ceremony”.
That information came directly from Joe Horrigan, the executive director of the Hall of Fame. Explained Horrigan, “the focus is on the guys who are there”, though of course that doesn’t include those who are deceased.
Or does it? They wouldn’t allow Junior Seau’s daughter to give a speech at the podium in honor of her father when he was inducted a few years back. She was only allowed to give the speech in some corridor after much protest. I will mention this fact frequently because it’s simply a disgrace.
The Hall of Fame is not about the Hall of Fame. It’s really not even about the players who are in the Hall of Fame. Quite honestly it’s about the fans, the people who travel to Canton every year to see some of football’s history up close and personal.
Instead, the business side wants to get personal with one of the newest members of its ranks because of a perceived slight, which frankly is not entirely undue. If Terrell Owens were a tow-the-line guy, he would have been in the class of 2016. It’s that simple. And maybe if they put him in then, he wouldn’t be giving his acceptance speech far away from football’s ground zero, which is just a damn shame