Terrell Owens announced Thursday he would be snubbing the Pro Football Hall of Fame of his presence at the induction ceremony this year after being snubbed the past two years.
OK, he didn’t say it exactly like that, but he would have been justified. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody that he’s not attending — after not even finishing in the top 10 in voting last year, Owens tweeted that the Hall was a total joke and it didn’t mean anything for him to get in anymore.
The snub was silly. Owens had a 15-year career with nine seasons of 1,000 or more yards receiving. He finished eighth in NFL history with 1,078 receptions, second in receiving yards with 15,934, third in touchdowns among wide receivers with 153, and with six Pro Bowl and five First-Team All Pro honors. He’s one of the best receivers of all time.
The consensus by Hall of Fame voters was that he had the numbers, but was a “bad teammate.” Being a “bad teammate” is really code for not liking the way he enjoyed his own success with “antics” like standing on the Dallas Cowboys’ star, stuffing his face with popcorn from a fan, shaking pom poms from a cheerleader, and pulling a permanent marker out of his sock and signing a football. Bad teammates don’t play in Super Bowls on a broken leg and still reel in nine catches for 122 yards, however.
If Owens is still holding a grudge against the Hall of Fame over last year’s snub, it’s hard to blame him. But some of the outrage folks are having on Twitter is funny, considering how peaceful Owens was in declining the invite. There was no salt (emphasis ours):
“While I am incredibly appreciative of this opportunity, I have made the decision to publicly decline my invitation to attend the induction ceremony in Canton,” Owens said in a statement Thursday. “I have already shared this information with the hall. After visiting Canton earlier this year, I came to the realization that I wish to celebrate what will be one of the most memorable days of my life, elsewhere. At a later date, I will announce where and when I will celebrate my induction.
“I wish to congratulate all past, current, and future inductees. It is quite an honor to be part of such elite company. This honor is something that I will cherish forever.”
The number of people who are pulling out their pitchforks over this decision makes sense given how Owens was misinterpreted throughout his career. At this point, it’s gotta be hard for him to care, right? He has fought all of these fights before. His career has been played out, and he’s in the Hall of Fame. He’s got nothing left to prove.
The message being sent here by Owens is bigger than just his absence. The Hall of Fame assumed it could drag him along, and that when his time came, Owens would be ready to step up on the stage, talk about how great this moment is for him, and how important it is for his career and in his life. There would be one last show, and it would be in deference to the Hall of Fame, after they had their way with him.
Instead, he’s choosing to peel off into defiant silence. Owens is somehow going to make this his own, which is exactly how Owens made his career: Doing things he wanted to do. We don’t know how he’s going to do that yet, but one can assume he’s going to make it worthwhile. After all, he left us with endless memories during his career.
While he won’t be making a speech in Canton come August, he’s still saying a lot by not showing up. And it’s the perfect ending to his storied career.