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Hall of Fame voter says opposition to Terrell Owens “felt personal”

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Were there legitimate football reasons to keep Terrell Owens out of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, or did voters who disliked Owens personally vote against him for off-field reasons? That’s perhaps the most important question after Owens was voted down by the Hall of Fame Selection Committee. And one member of the committee had an interesting comment about the proceedings.

Jim Trotter of ESPN, who is on the Selection Committee, said on Richard Deitsch’s podcast that he was uncomfortable with the opposition to Owens in the meeting room on the day before the Super Bowl. Although Trotter was careful to make clear that he doesn’t know for a fact that the opposition to Owens is personal, he said it felt like it was.

“I voted for him. I will vote for him again,” Trotter said of Owens. “But I’ll say this: In my 11 years on the Committee I will say that that’s the most uncomfortable I’ve ever been in a room, listening to the debate on Terrell Owens. And I went to one of the Hall officials during a break and I told him that. I said, ‘I’ve never felt this uncomfortable about a guy being debated in this room.’ Because it did. It felt personal to me. It may not have been — I’m not saying it was personal — I’m saying it felt personal to me, and that was very disturbing to me. Will he get in? I believe he will get in at some point. But that’s what’s so ridiculous to me, to be frank, Richard, because don’t tell me that you’re going to make him wait two, three years, five years, whatever it is, simply because you felt he was a bad teammate, but he’ll get in, you’ll vote for him at some point. If you’re not willing to vote for him now you shouldn’t be willing to vote for him in five years. He should be judged simply on his merits, in my opinion, and I’m not one of those people who believe in sending messages.”

We’ve heard Hall of Fame voters say Owens was too divisive to get into the Hall of Fame, and we’ve heard voters say Owens dropped too many passes. But neither of those arguments is particularly convincing. It’s hard not to think some of the opposition to Owens is personal.

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73 Responses to “Hall of Fame voter says opposition to Terrell Owens “felt personal””
  1. radrntn says: Mar 6, 2017 1:15 PM

    now a days you have to be a brown nosing former athlete and take a job at the NFL network, BSPN, etc…..in order to get into the hall. That carries more weight today, than what you did on the field.

  2. geefan1 says: Mar 6, 2017 1:17 PM

    Some of the opposition is personal, and some so is some of the support. It’s a subjective decision. Otherwise you could just plug every players’ stats into a computer and have it print out your list
    of inductees

  3. dietrich43 says: Mar 6, 2017 1:18 PM

    It was clearly personal. TO should be in. It doesn’t mean I have to like the guy. And ‘bad teammate’ is not nearly at the level of ‘bad human being’, and they’ve elected plenty of them on the first ballot.

  4. silvernblacksabbath says: Mar 6, 2017 1:19 PM

    Make him wait 10 years and then let him in..

  5. savethebs says: Mar 6, 2017 1:20 PM

    TO was right, this is a joke. I don’t like the guy either & wouldn’t want him on my team, but he’s 100% HOF worthy. Top 5 WR all time.

  6. tmcb7 says: Mar 6, 2017 1:20 PM

    Who didn’t know that…
    it is EXACTLY what is wrong with the entire voting process w/ the NFLHOF.

  7. jjackwagon says: Mar 6, 2017 1:20 PM

    Hello? Are you listening? I told you it was personal back when you first mentioned that he didn’t make it this year.

    So I will say it again, we all know TO has been abrasive to most of the HoF voters(media) at some point in his career.

    This was their last chance to get revenge for some petty grievance he visited on them.

  8. jimnaizeeum says: Mar 6, 2017 1:22 PM

    “If you’re not willing to vote for him now you shouldn’t be willing to vote for him in five years”

    So he’s saying that anyone that doesn’t get in their 1st year of eligibility should never get in.
    It would be a real small hall of fame.

  9. gixrider says: Mar 6, 2017 1:23 PM

    “If you’re not willing to vote for him now you shouldn’t be willing to vote for him in five years. He should be judged simply on his merits, in my opinion,”

    Agreed.

  10. canedaddy says: Mar 6, 2017 1:23 PM

    The support seems to be just as “personal.”

    There’s a clear non-personal case to be made that he’s not a first-ballot HoF guy because of his selfishness and dropped passes.

  11. drunkraider says: Mar 6, 2017 1:23 PM

    they could allways wait till he dies like they did Stabler.

  12. weepingjebus says: Mar 6, 2017 1:24 PM

    I support his candidacy but that jacket is not helping.

  13. 52crabcakes says: Mar 6, 2017 1:24 PM

    So it’s a popularity contest? I get it now.

  14. coltsreign says: Mar 6, 2017 1:24 PM

    T.O. deserves to be in, not only could he tear it up on corners but he had the best charisma with celebrations. T.O. was a lot of fun to watch whether you hated him or loved him.
    Today’s receivers just can’t hold a candle to T.O. in terms of Talent and charisma on the field.

  15. celticsforever says: Mar 6, 2017 1:28 PM

    Likely the worst HOF of the major 4 sports. How they let guys in like Bettis or Namath, but not Owens is beyond me. And I personally cannot stand Owens, but he is HOF worthy.

  16. newpairofsox says: Mar 6, 2017 1:29 PM

    Mr. Trotter’s experience at the least shows the degree of divisiveness Owens’ behavior precipitated. Election to the Hall of Fame is not merely a numbers game—there is quite obviously a subjective element where Owens fails to pass muster. Isn’t this precisely why the selection committee exists?

  17. 6ball says: Mar 6, 2017 1:29 PM

    .
    Change your name to Tony Dungy and you’re in.
    .

  18. tinkletinkleonyourstar says: Mar 6, 2017 1:31 PM

    If Trotter was so uncomfortable with it maybe he should’ve just gone to a safe space. Poor guy.

  19. najacoo22 says: Mar 6, 2017 1:41 PM

    I don’t love TO, but I love football. He is one of the greats, he deserves to be in the HOF.

  20. 4onafloor says: Mar 6, 2017 1:42 PM

    The votes have been counted and he’s not going to be inducted this year. That’s not changing, so enough already. There’s always next year.

  21. motleytrap says: Mar 6, 2017 1:43 PM

    It was that way for Cris Carter too.

  22. deneb1973 says: Mar 6, 2017 1:49 PM

    Can someone post the identities of the Hall of Fame Voters? Let’s see who they are!

  23. leroysbutler says: Mar 6, 2017 1:55 PM

    Jerry Kramer.

  24. jamaltimore says: Mar 6, 2017 1:55 PM

    what’s personal is how Art Modell is not in the Hall of Fame. T.O. not getting on first chance really isn’t that big of a deal.

    Free the Browns and Let Modell into the HOF.

  25. Rolo Tomassi says: Mar 6, 2017 1:55 PM

    Polian is behind this

  26. charger383 says: Mar 6, 2017 1:59 PM

    all voting has some subjective element in it

  27. perscientist says: Mar 6, 2017 1:59 PM

    It’s the same B.S. that kept Rice out of the MLB hall for 15 years (he was disliked by the media). Too many guys with grudges holding the votes.

    Guy either has the stats to get in or he doesn’t. T.O. does. Typical writers making this about them instead of the player. S

  28. djvh2 says: Mar 6, 2017 2:04 PM

    “I don’t like the guy either & wouldn’t want him on my team, but he’s 100% HOF worthy.”

    If you wouldn’t want him on your team, then why do you think he’s HOF worthy, or even worthy of being in the NFL?

    I think he should be in, and I’d want him on my team despite his obvious issues as a teammate.

  29. hawkforlife says: Mar 6, 2017 2:13 PM

    Just looking at the division here it seems he can’t be a 1st round hall of famer since half say yes and half say no. Accounting for bias and accounting for sometimes not so bright posters, I can imaging the same conversation in the room.

  30. doe22us says: Mar 6, 2017 2:15 PM

    Jim is being diplomatic with his answer, hell yeah it was personal. That makes it more and more the sham that this process is.

  31. D. Carter 1906 says: Mar 6, 2017 2:26 PM

    You may not like the man, but his numbers speak volumes.

    Is it a popularity contest or a meritocracy?

    T.O. deserves to be in the hall of fame.

    You punished him enough not letting him be a first ballot candidate. The fans get that.

    But he shouldn’t be rejected a 3rd time.

  32. lingsun54 says: Mar 6, 2017 2:27 PM

    He was a team cancer. He should never be in the Hall of Fame. Neither should Randy Moss.

  33. r502 says: Mar 6, 2017 2:31 PM

    Well, whose fault is it that it is so personal? Whose personality is so radioactive that people feel compelled to exclude this guy? Who was such a fool, on and off the field that the name brings up a shake of the head and distasteful perception? Was it the voters? Nope, it was TO who cannot for the life of himself ever look in the mirror and realize he is his own worst enemy.

  34. jobotjones says: Mar 6, 2017 2:35 PM

    So he’s saying that anyone that doesn’t get in their 1st year of eligibility should never get in.
    It would be a real small hall of fame.
    ______
    What he’s saying is if you’re only reason for delaying the vote is that you don’t like him as a person then you shouldn’t vote for him at all.

    Basically these people are delaying the vote just to screw with TO. I’m not a huge fan of his but his numbers speak for themselves, put him in Canton.

  35. dknicholson56 says: Mar 6, 2017 2:35 PM

    If considering him as locker room poison is considered “personal” then yes it was for personal reasons. A players that sabotages a team as he did in Philly is reason enough for me to keep him out, or at least delay entry as someone pointed out early. He certainly does not deserve the honor of a first ballot inductee.

  36. Indybear says: Mar 6, 2017 2:36 PM

    I don’t like TO. I don’t like the current or former players of 31 other NFL teams. I particularly can’t stand Dallas and wish George Teague would have decapitated TO when he stood on the “star”.

    Still, he should be in the Hall, for what it’s worth.

  37. silvernblacksabbath says: Mar 6, 2017 2:36 PM

    McNabb is cracking up right now.. lmao

  38. rhamrhoddy says: Mar 6, 2017 2:44 PM

    Unfortunately for guys like Trotter, he will be viewed through the same lens that so many of the other HOF voters will be.

    Regardless of how guys like Ron Borges try to justify keeping T.O. out of the top TEN finalists, let alone the Hall itself, there will no doubt be millions of diehard NFL fans who will feel that the process lacks the integrity that it deserves.

  39. harrietknutczak says: Mar 6, 2017 2:45 PM

    Terrell, you reap what you sow. The HOF is a private club, and they’re entirely within their rights to choose who gets in.

  40. getyourownname says: Mar 6, 2017 2:45 PM

    “We’ve heard Hall of Fame voters say Owens was too divisive to get into the Hall of Fame, and we’ve heard voters say Owens dropped too many passes. But neither of those arguments is particularly convincing.”

    In this current era where one’s feelings are touted as being just as important as actual facts, passing off one’s opinion as fact is not surprising.

    It’s OK to opine that you think he’s HOF worthy and that you disagree with those on the other side. It’s not OK to act like those with other opinions could not possibly be either sincere or right.

  41. losangelesbillsofbuffalo says: Mar 6, 2017 2:49 PM

    Newsflash: Put a bunch of Baby Boomers in a room with an Axe to Grind against a guy they are to judge based on On-The-Field dominance, and they will succumb to convincing themselves that their objective and negative opinions are in-fact evidence used to fit their narrative.

    Who would’ve thought?

  42. itsfootballbaby says: Mar 6, 2017 2:59 PM

    If Ty Cobb, one of the biggest jerks ever to play professional sports, can get in to the MLB Hall then Owens should walk into the NFL HOF. And I can’t stand the guy.

  43. teal379 says: Mar 6, 2017 3:02 PM

    Some act like his not getting in this year is the same as not receiving an organ transplant.

    He has multiple bites at the apple. And I guarantee you – when he gets in, he’ll be happy to have done so.

    Pitching a fit because it’s not happening on your timetable does nothing but reinforce those opinions that say your behavior, not play can keep you out.

    Jerry Kramer is more than HOF worthy and he’s had to deal with this question/issue EVERY year for decades. No whining, no complaining. Just deals with it. Stark comparison to TO and his apologists.

  44. whispersd says: Mar 6, 2017 3:04 PM

    there is quite obviously a subjective element where Owens fails to pass muster. Isn’t this precisely why the selection committee exists?

    There is a difference between admitting that subjectivity is part of the process and embracing bias as a legitimate part of the voting. The anti-TO camp has conjured up new arguments, many of which are bogus and counter-factual, simply to deny an honor to a man that they dislike personally. When voters do that, they are behaving unprofessionally.

  45. tedmurph says: Mar 6, 2017 3:06 PM

    What is everyone so upset about? Everybody knows he’s getting in.eventually. So he has to wait because he was a self centered bad teamate and a dink. So what?

  46. patriots123456 says: Mar 6, 2017 3:07 PM

    What do you expect from an organization that is headed by a dishonest clown.

    Fire Roger

  47. ninerfan81 says: Mar 6, 2017 3:15 PM

    First ballot is not a distinction held for those with exemplary off the field behavior. It is reserved for those who dominated on a football field. Like I said before, these bloated journalists need to be checked for Low Testosterone. They have an axe to grind that has nothing to do with football. Jim Trotter is a reasonable man.

  48. 52crabcakes says: Mar 6, 2017 3:17 PM

    I didn’t realize it was a popularity contest! I don’t like him either, but he was one hell of a player.

  49. ballistictrajectory says: Mar 6, 2017 3:20 PM

    Can we give the guy a participation trophy and let it all be done? Thanks for being there, T.O. Here’s a trinket. Now STHU…

  50. rexgrossmanisgoat says: Mar 6, 2017 3:21 PM

    I heard Jim Irsay was critical of TO calling him a ‘team cancer.’ I like how a guy caught with $30k and a bunch of prescription pills tries to denounce a guy’s character.

    Meanwhile, Marvin Harrison gets in after allegations of 2, count ’em, 2 homicides (!)

  51. bleedingfacemask says: Mar 6, 2017 3:21 PM

    “He should be judged simply on his merits, in my opinion”

    According to Merriam-Webster, the obsolete definition of “merit” is “reward or punishment due”.

    Some people think the Hall voters are obsolete.

    The Circle of Life…

  52. iseek11 says: Mar 6, 2017 3:24 PM

    It’s the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Statistics. Statistics are for record books. He will always be in those. Hall of Famers are supposed to represent the best the NFL has to offer. There are many reasons TO is not that. Dropped balls in crunch time. Blow ups on the sideline. Crying for the ball. Never lifting his team to a championship. His closest run was in Philly where he joined a team that had been to 3 NFCCG. people forget he was injured and the team made the Super Bowl without him and lost it with him. He was supposed to be the missing piece in Cincy but he decided reality tv was more important. I’m all for taking character into account for HoF. TO can live forever in the me-first record books.

  53. ogawdwhereami says: Mar 6, 2017 3:45 PM

    The HOF is an irrelevant joke.

  54. PacificNWMark says: Mar 6, 2017 4:01 PM

    Good grief, OF COURSE it’s personal – if the Hall of Fame voters considered only Owen’s on-field performance and statistics he would have been inducted on the first ballot.

  55. tim8450 says: Mar 6, 2017 4:10 PM

    It’s not like there is no one else to nominate.

    The decisions are obviously very difficult, and if the choice is very close, stat-wise, between two dissimilar positions, and someone who is a jerk, and someone who is perhaps a better role model and ambassador of the sport, I don’t see why a tie should go to the jerk.

    We need less jerks in the world and we all benefit if people are discouraged from being selfish jerks.

  56. JSpicoli says: Mar 6, 2017 4:14 PM

    The pedantic children who oppose have no argument.

  57. football2011 says: Mar 6, 2017 4:29 PM

    The bias is not against Owens. It is against Wide Receivers. it took Cris Carter, Andre Reed and Tim all nearly a decade to get into the hall.

  58. balt88 says: Mar 6, 2017 4:45 PM

    I’m pretty sure this horse is dead…

  59. patfanken says: Mar 6, 2017 5:13 PM

    OF COURSE it was personal. Who do you think votes these guys in. The same media pukes who think these games are all about them. The same guys who think the coaches and players exist merely to provide them with fodder for their columns and reports. And if they think you are screwing with them, they take it VERY personal.

    How else can you explain inducting Jerry Jones into the HOF, when about the only things he’s contributed to the NFL are his ego and tons and tons of quoteable material to these same mediots.

  60. mogogo1 says: Mar 6, 2017 5:27 PM

    Tim Brown is several spots above TO in all time receptions, he made an all-decade team, holds tons of team records, etc. He just got in back in 2015 after being passed over several times and hardly anybody payed any attention–they knew he’d make it eventually. Same is the case with TO.

  61. dcpatfan says: Mar 6, 2017 6:09 PM

    of course it was….

    This is the old/new america where being a loud outspoken, sometimes boisterous, grandstanding Black Man will get you snubbed (old)

    but be the exact same person and lack pigment and you can be elected president….

  62. Nofoolnodrool says: Mar 6, 2017 6:49 PM

    tedmurph | Mar 6, 2017, 3:06 PM EST
    What is everyone so upset about? Everybody knows he’s getting in.eventually. So he has to wait because he was a self centered bad teamate and a dink. So what?

    It would be fair to say you and CryBabyNation would not feel that way were it a Patriot in this position………fraud.

  63. tedmurph says: Mar 6, 2017 7:09 PM

    Speaking of dinks…PatsNation isn’t crybaby nation. In case you haven’t heard, the Pats won the Super Bowl for the 2nd time in 3yrs, and the 5th time in the last 16. It’s Championship Nation. The steeler fans live in crybaby nation. Excuses are for losers. And if it were a Patriot, I still wouldn’t care. I don’t care who gets in the NFL HOF. .

  64. Nofoolnodrool says: Mar 6, 2017 7:30 PM

    Speaking of dinks…PatsNation isn’t crybaby nation. In case you haven’t heard, the Pats won the Super Bowl for the 2nd time in 3yrs, and the 5th time in the last 16. It’s Championship Nation. The steeler fans live in crybaby nation. Excuses are for losers. And if it were a Patriot, I still wouldn’t care. I don’t care who gets in the NFL HOF. .

    Your response confirms who is from CryBabyNation …..fraud.

  65. tedmurph says: Mar 6, 2017 7:59 PM

    Don’t you get tired of losing drooly?

  66. Nofoolnodrool says: Mar 6, 2017 8:11 PM

    Don’t you get tired of losing drooly?

    Making you lose you composure is not me losing …..fool. Every time you respond is a win because it shows the truth hurts a member of CryBabyNation.

  67. docr8der says: Mar 6, 2017 8:13 PM

    Cliff Branch, 3 rings & more receptions than Lynn Swann before Owens.

  68. tedmurph says: Mar 6, 2017 8:21 PM

    Monday accomplishment. Bait someone on a blog with nonsense. Congratulations. Take the rest of the week off. Give us all a break. Amazing that some people think they’re smart, when they don’t realize the world is laughing at them.

  69. igwaybwekay says: Mar 6, 2017 8:31 PM

    Let’s make a deal. TO gets his gold jacket, but he has to accept it on the star at AT&T Stadium, and George Teague gets to crush him AGAIN.

  70. tonebones says: Mar 6, 2017 8:50 PM

    The super bowl trophy is a team award, and the HOF is an individual, or personal award. So yes, the voters vote for a person, not a team. It should feel personal. It is personal. The voters feel this person made his team less competitive than they would have been if he wasn’t on the team. Many teams got rid of him for that very reason. This is not nuclear science. People who vote for stats, vote for Owens. People that vote for greatness, don’t.

  71. BringBackTheFlex says: Mar 6, 2017 11:57 PM

    He wasn’t a great football player. He had great stats, but most people will tell you that stats are only part of the story. Part of being a great player is being part of the team, elevating your team mates, contributing to the team goals.

    Owens did little more than pad his own stats. If he got the ball 20 times he’d be happy, even if the team lost. If the team won and he only caught one pass he was pissed. Not a HoFer.

  72. ceadderman says: Mar 7, 2017 6:45 AM

    Lots of better Receivers out there that deserve it more.

    First discussion people should have about Owens is Rings. How many? None? Well then? Which Receivers are on the list and how many do they have? If more than none? Well sorry T.O., nothing personal but you fell down the list. They don’t induct a class of Receivers only. That’s not how Canton works.

    Now the numbers argument. Numbers are nice. We fans love numbers. How about those drops? Okay nice argument for. Except there are a couple of Receivers currently sitting in Canton(Jerry Rice, Steve Largeant) that had A LOT of passes thrown their way. Flash80 had his fair share of drops. But he and another MORE DESERVING Receiver(*ahem* John Taylor) did what it took to get their team the hardware. Yes they had Joe Montana throwing to them but T.O. had Garcia in San Francisco. Garcia wasn’t that bad. I saw quite a few Alligator Arms waving at catchable passes coming from T.O. But that’s not why I’m against Owens in Canton. The numbers are what they are. When you have Donovan McNabb and Tom Brady on your list of QBs, you BETTER have the numbers. If you don’t what’s that say about you as a Receiver?

    Look who Flash80 had. Joe Montana, Steve Young, and Jeff Garcia and a few seasons sprinkled with Backups Steve Bono, Elvis Grrbac. Yeah the 9ers were stocked up on talented QBs. But the thing(s) that Rice has is the hardware and Owens unsurprisingly does not. Largeant doesn’t have the Hardware but he put up the numbers he did because he pretty much was the only target in Seattle. He put up Rice numbers before Rice did. On a team that started in 1978 and got the slim pickings of an Expansion team.

    Terrell Owens was a solid gifted Receiver, don’t get me wrong. But when guys like Ed McCaffery are sitting on the outside looking in and they have the hardware and solid numbers in their own right? Sorry T.O. you gonna hafta wait.

  73. ceadderman says: Mar 7, 2017 7:05 AM

    Oh yeah, one thing I should’ve mentioned is Football is a TEAM sport. Not a me sport.

    It’s how you carry your water on and off the field.

    I don’t care if anyone is a Diva. Deon Sanders was a Diva and I supported his induction to Canton. He did it all. He had the hardware too. Killed me when he went to Dallas. But he deserved to be inducted to the HoF.

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