Hall of Fame voter: I would have snubbed T.O. if I’d known he wouldn’t show up

Mike Florio
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

One of the most vocal opponents of Terrell Owens’ Hall of Fame candidacy has a new retroactive basis for opposing Owens’ induction.

Gary Myers, formerly of the New York Daily News, was at the front end of the bashing of Owens that occurred when voters snubbed him twice for enshrinement. In the aftermath of Owens’ decision not to show up for the Hall of Fame ceremony, Myers has a new basis for trying to keep Owens out.

“Terrell Owens informed Pro Football HOF he’s not attending induction ceremony,” Myers said in a Thursday tweet that has since been deleted. “Unprecedented. Classy guy. If I knew he would not show up, I would have voted for somebody who would have. T.O was not happy it took until third year to get in. Don’t know reason he’s not showing up.”

It wasn’t just that it took Owens three tries to get in. Plenty of guys need three tries to get in, including Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin. But when Irvin didn’t make it on his first or second try, none of the voters felt compelled to say anything other than, “Only five modern-era candidates get in each year, which means that many eventual Hall of Famers will have to wait.”

And they could have said other things. After all, Irvin stabbed a teammate in the neck with scissors. But it’s Owens, not Irvin, who has the “bad teammate” label routinely applied to him.

“The bottom line on T.O. is he was so disruptive,” Myers said after Owens was overlooked the first time, in early 2016. “[H]e tore teams apart. . . . He’s a Hall of Fame player that five teams couldn’t wait to get rid of. So what does that tell you about how disruptive he was?”

Apart from the fact that the “couldn’t wait to get rid of” Owens take is deeply flawed, the exercise remains gratuitous and, in light of the fact that he eventually got in, odd. By obsessing over trumped-up narratives and downplaying the finest moment of his career before eventually letting him in — possibly in response to the enormous pressure to relent — the voters have created a sense that Owens is only reluctantly welcome, and that he’s not truly as worthy as the rest of the Hall of Famers.

Owens gets it, and it could be (should be) one of the reasons why he doesn’t want to attend the ceremony. Myers’ admission that his vote on Owens’ eligibility would have been influenced by knowledge of his willingness to show up for the enshrinement could be (should be) a basis for the Hall of Fame to consider whether Myers should continue to have a vote.

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