Pro Football Hall of Fame voters complaining that Terrell Owens won’t attend his induction in Canton, Ohio wasn’t surprising. There’s a reason Owens waited so long to be voted in, and it wasn’t because his resume was lacking.
That voters are upset isn’t worth a lot of discussion. But it is notable that Hall of Fame defensive back Rod Woodson doesn’t agree with Owens skipping the ceremony.
Woodson, a great player for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Oakland Raiders, Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers and one of the most respected voices in the game over the past generation, said Owens isn’t thinking about those who helped him make the Hall of Fame.
Woodson thinks ‘it’s a shame’ Owens won’t attend
Woodson, speaking to NFL Network, said “it’s a shame” that Owens wouldn’t give the traditional speech and acknowledge the people who helped him make the Hall.
“I really don’t care if he comes or not,” Woodson told NFL Network, via the New York Daily News. “But what bothers me more than anything is that in T.O.’s life, he’s had different things that happened to him in his life, but there’s people who helped him come along through his childhood, high school, college, to get to the point where he’s at to be one of the better players to ever play in the National Football League … you can be there to acknowledge them. And they lose out, because he’s thinking, ‘It’s all about T.O.’”
To the best of anyone’s knowledge, this is the first time a living player has skipped the ceremony. The Hall of Fame’s president called it unprecedented. Most of the speeches on induction night follow a similar path, and all of them thank family, coaches, teammates and friends. Owens was bitter about how he was snubbed his first two times as a finalist, and rightfully so, and he’ll skip the ceremony as a result.
Woodson isn’t the only Hall of Famer who has expressed disappointment in Owens.
Other players don’t agree with T.O.’s decision
Joe Greene, the great defensive tackle of the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers dynasty, told the SB Nation podcast “Talk of Fame Network” that he also thought Owens’ decision hurts those close to him.
“You are missing one of the most important days of your life,” Greene said, according to the Daily News. “It’s for those people who saw you before you became that big NFL star. The thing you learn when you walk up there is it’s not all about you.’’
Owens’ decision will be debated over the next couple months because it’s unfathomable someone would skip their Hall of Fame induction, and also because anything Owens does makes news.
Owens’ absence will dominate HOF weekend
While the Hall of Fame will say, and has said, that it will focus on the Class of 2018 inductees who will be there, that is impossible. Owens, by skipping the event, became the biggest story of the weekend. Owens’ critics will happily point out that was probably his goal.
In the lead-up to the event, and at the event itself, we’ll hear plenty of other players chime in. Presumably, most will have feelings similar to the ones Woodson expressed. Cornerback Mike Haynes, a Hall of Famer, also said he was shocked and thought T.O. would regret his decision. We’ll hear from plenty of all-time greats on the issue.
Owens has always done things his way, and his Hall of Fame induction is no exception.
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