Soon-to-be Hall of Fame receiver Terrell Owens hadn’t said much to explain why he’s not attending the enshrinement ceremony. Some think he won’t be there because none of his former teams will foot the bill for a lavish party. Some think he’s miffed that the Selection Committee passed over him twice. Some think he’s particularly upset about the things that specific voters had said about him to justify making him wait.
Some think he just wants the attention.
On Saturday night, Owens suggested another motivation: That he’s making a statement for all players who had to wait longer than they should have had to wait to get in.
“I’m SO HAPPY for JERRY [Kramer]!!” Owens said in response to someone on Twitter who was criticizing Owens by citing Kramer’s decades-long snub. “[He] shouldn’t have had to wait that damn long either! I’m doing this for guys like him. Past, present and the future.”
If true, it’s admirable — albeit quixotic. The process has real flaws. With only five modern-era candidates winning induction each year, deserving players will from time to time have to wait. It’s a numbers game, plain and simple. And, like anything else hinging on ballots cast by human beings, pettiness and politics will from time to time influence who makes it, and who doesn’t. Nothing Owens or anyone else does is going to change it, unless the suggested revision entails opening the floodgates and letting 15 new Hall of Famers in every year.
Many will say this isn’t Owens’ real motivation, and that he concocted it because it seems far less selfish and (as Dick Vitale — yes, Dick Vitale, for some reason — has repeatedly said) childish if Owens has a cause bigger than himself. Regardless, it’s now clear that T.O.’s two-year wait influenced his decision heavily, and that if he’d been inducted on the first try (like Randy Moss was), Owens would probably be showing up.