Terrell Owens has created another highly-publicized, widely-criticized NFL firestorm with his decision to hold his Hall of Fame induction speech off-site at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga rather than attending the ceremony in traditional Canton, Ohio.
T.O. only gave three shoutouts to inspirational athletes in HOF speech: One for former #49ers teammate Jerry Rice, one each for #NBA legends Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant Watch the Rice shoutout https://t.co/uTwxX348Oq
Owens decision — while justified to many considering he was kept out of the HOF for two voting classes because of perception and media influence — embarrassed the NFL and its Hall of Fame board of trustees.
Now, the Hall of Fame wants to ensure that no one ever devalues the meaning of a Canton induction again. They might want to start with changing the voting process, but instead, they will hold the players accountable.
Pro Football Hall of Fame just keeps proving Terrell Owens right: https://t.co/mLEUwlMQsn
The Hall wants a guarantee from inductees in advance of the enshrinement ceremony that they will attend:
The T.O. Rule is born
According to Deadspin, The Hall of Famers want an advance screening of the candidates along with a commitment that they will show up. The plan, as another source put it, would consist of having the 25 semifinalists sign an agreement that they would show up if selected. Its currently believed that the adjustment to the procedures is virtually certain to happen.
New @ProFootballHOF @BUrlacher54 told us his thoughts on the potential new Hall of Fame rule requiring a loyalty pledge: https://t.co/Isow4dePcL
Owens became the first player to shun the ceremony and the first inductee to challenge and question the selection process so demonstratively.
It was his way of protesting the biased posture the football writers took with him. Considering he never committed a crime and is statistically a Top 3 receiver in the history, its pretty obvious that the medias perception of T.O. as a locker room obliterator and self-centered diva is what kept him out of the HOF and that should NEVER happen to a player. Especially one who had such an impact on the culture of the game.
There will never be another player like T.O. @TerrellOwens’ career highlights are a MUST-WATCH. #PFHOF18 https://t.co/8rEljHJ0HD
The media is supposed to be professionally unbiased while using their years of experience and analysis to reward the greatest players in the games history with the ultimate honor.
T.O. feels the NFL stripped the ceremony of that honor when they took so long to vote him in.
“It’s about the mere fact that the sportswriters are not in alignment with the mission and core values of the Hall of Fame,” he told Deadspin. “These writers disregarded the system, criteria, and by-laws by which guys are inducted, and ultimately the true meaning of the Hall of Fame, and what it represents.”
The Hall of Fame refuses to be left with egg on their face again, so making sure players attend the event as a part of the induction process makes sense. It also proves Owens original point, which is that the Hall of Fame is a dog and pony show to a larger degree. If Owens was inducted in his first year of eligibility, then the Hall of Fame wouldnt be discussing how to control the process more and guarantee that no player ever leaves them at the altar again.
The fact that they now have to consider such safeguards supports Owens assertion that the Hall of Fame is quickly becoming the Hall of Game.
His point is exactly right.” – @maxkellerman on Terrell Owens https://t.co/EXTqhRKl09
Voting for the NFL HOF is an honor for those media members involved. The Pro Football Hall of Fame website states, The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s 48-person Selection Committee is charged with the vital task of continuing to be sure that new enshrinees are the finest the game has produced
The NFL media failed T.O. in that regard and even contributed to the negative perception about his personality. Karma came back to the Hall of Fame like a boomerang and now they are scrambling to make sure this never happens again. Going forward, all they really have to do is the right thing. Dont play GOD, stick to the script.