Terrell Owens has clearly hurt the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s feelings.
Owens has decided to not attend the Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony, even though he’s part of this year’s class. The HOF has said that’s unprecedented. Instead, Owens has planned to give his speech at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where he played his college ball.
Clearly that’s not what the Hall’s directors want. Induction weekend is a huge deal in Canton. They probably never considered that anyone would voluntarily skip their prestigious event.
So how will the Hall of Fame handle this unusual situation? In the most immature way possible. It appears they’ll act like Owens doesn’t exist.
How will Hall treat Owens during ceremony?
In an interview with the Talk of Fame Network, Pro Football Hall of Fame executive director Joe Horrigan said Owens will not be mentioned during the gold jacket ceremony on Friday or the induction ceremony on Saturday. It seems that if you showed up in Canton on induction weekend after being on the moon for a year, you wouldn’t know Owens is in the Class of 2018.
“The focus is on the guys who are here,” Horrigan told the Talk of Fame Network.
It seems that the Hall believes that to truly be in its select group, being a five-time All-Pro, finishing second in career receiving yards and second in career receiving touchdowns isn’t enough. You also have to show up and give a speech, or the Hall won’t acknowledge you.
Why isn’t Owens going to be there?
While Owens has never fully explained why he is skipping the induction ceremony, it seems related to his dissatisfaction with being passed over twice as a finalist before being voted in. And he was right to be angry about that.
Owens had an easy, obvious Hall of Fame resume. He was made to wait. Owens’ reputation played a role. Also, some voters seemed to want to make sure Owens knew they were the ones in charge of the process and he needed to play by their rules.
Passing Owens on his first time as a finalist was wrong. Passing Owens twice was incredibly petty. Acting like Owens isn’t even in the Class of 2018, just because he won’t attend the ceremony, is beyond petty.
The Hall of Fame is being vindictive and punitive
It’s a message from the Hall of Fame: Play by our rules or we’ll act like you never got voted in. While nobody seems too happy with Owens’ decision to stay away, it’s still his decision. He shouldn’t be obligated to go if he doesn’t want to, for whatever reason. And the Hall is doing a good job justifying Owens’ decision to stay away.
This isn’t about keeping the focus “on the guys who are here,” it’s about punishing Owens for not following the Hall’s rules. The Hall of Fame, like Owens, can do what it wants. It should just know that, like snubbing Owens twice to make sure he knew his place, it’s not a good look.
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