We’ve talked a lot over the last week about the seven new members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the 10 candidates who were voted down at Saturday’s selection committee meeting, and the process by which new Hall of Famers are selected. It’s been an interesting, productive topic of conversation in the football media world.
But one of the members of the selection committee, Len Pasquarelli of The Sports Xchange, thinks it’s time to move on or move out from questioning the selection committee’s decisions.
In an interview with 1560 The Game, Pasquarelli said that he understands the calls for more transparency in the selection process, but he also believes that more transparency could lead some voters to become more reticent to have a candid conversation at the selection committee meeting.
“I think there probably will be a day where there’s more transparency,” Pasquarelli said. “I believe in transparency to a point, but I do think that having TV cameras in that room and televising the whole thing, while it would make for fascinating theater, you’re absolutely right about that, would perhaps deter some people from airing their views, and probably bring even more criticism.”
Fair enough, but if you’re going to be a member of the selection committee, don’t you need to have thick enough skin to deal with that criticism? And, with all due respect to the members of the committee, if criticism would deter them from airing their views, working in the media is the wrong business for them.
Pasquarelli then turned his attention to Jason Whitlock, who has sharply criticized the selection committee, both in his column at FOXSports.com and in his appearance on PFT Live, for selecting Richard Dent while voting down Willie Roaf.
“There’s been enough from idiots like Jason Whitlock who doesn’t know what he’s talking about, criticizing the process and the fact that Willie Roaf didn’t get in,” Pasquarelli said. “Let me ask you this: In his championing of Willie Roaf, OK, and the fact that he claims he would cry if Willie Roaf didn’t get in — and I assume that he’s honest about that — how is he any less subjective, for instance, than the people who voted for Richard Dent? Isn’t it his opinion and nothing more? There’s no criteria by which he goes. Isn’t it his opinion that Willie Roaf should be a member of the Hall of Fame? What does he have to go by that’s concrete about that?”
Of course, Whitlock did spell out what his case for Roaf over Dent is, including Roaf’s selection to two all-decade teams (Dent never made one) and Roaf’s 11 Pro Bowls (Dent made four). Pasquarelli is free to disagree with Whitlock about the importance of such accolades, but it’s wrong to say those who support Roaf as a better candidate than Dent have no criteria.
Pasquarelli, however, doesn’t buy it.
“What argument does Mr. Whitlock have that Willie Roaf deserves to be in the Hall of Fame more so than Richard Dent?” Pasquarelli said. “I’m dumbfounded by the logic of that because it’s totally illogical.”
Pasquarelli also rejects the idea that players should have some voice in determining who makes the Hall of Fame.
“The argument made by Mr. Whitlock that players should vote on this? Players in some cases have a different agenda than people in that room,” Pasquarelli said.
Although Pasquarelli insisted that “I’m not taking this personally,” he sounded as if he was. That’s too bad. It does a disservice to the Hall of Fame candidates if the selection process starts to feel like a media pissing contest. Even though media pissing contests are always fun.