It turns out Terrell Owens is a man of his word. At least, the former Eagles receiver will be, if he follows through on his pledge to snub the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony in August.
While some voters and media types are struggling to come to terms with Owens' decision to skip Canton, the truth is the announcement shouldn't come as a surprise at all. After being passed over for the Hall for the second year in a row in 2017, the legendary wideout more or less admitted he wouldn't take part in the festivities if and when he eventually did get in.
Owens expressed on numerous occasions he had lost respect for the Hall's process, that he no longer cared if he made it, and in one exchange with WFAN's Mike Francesca over a year ago, strongly implied he would not attend his own enshrinement. Via ProFootballTalk:
"(Hall of Fame linerbacker) Harry Carson got upset and got to a point where he said, ‘I don't care,'" Francesa said in February, 2017. "‘If they vote me in now I'm not going.' When he got in he went. You'll do the same thing. When they vote you in, you'll go because you'll be happy that you got in, and you will get in."
"I'm not Harry Carson," Owens replied, "and I'm sure if you've done your research, everybody will tell you."
Though Owens never explicitly stated he wouldn't attend the ceremony in the exchange, he made it quite clear what his intentions were.
"But if you get in, you'll go right," Francesca asked. "You'll still acknowledge it and accept it, right?"
"Don't interpret anything," said Owens. "I've already given you my answer."
This is not to imply Owens, 44, is behaving anything less than childishly, simply because he was not honored as quickly as he feels he deserved. While the Hall of Fame voting process has its flaws, and Owens' NFL career and statistics obviously merit entrance, this is the definition of a frivolous grudge to harbor. He waited three years, not 30.
But that's also T.O. for ya. The guy wore a faux gold jacket during one televised media appearance last year, essentially making a mockery of the Hall. Voters can't act shocked and appalled Owens – known as much for being brash and petulant as he is for being one of the greatest players in NFL history – isn't suddenly gracious now.
There's a reason Owens played for five different teams during his Hall of Fame career.
One voter claims he wouldn't have voted for Owens had it been known beforehand he would decline the invitation. Other writers have pushed theories Owens isn't attending because of the cost, because he doesn't like Canton, or because he has anxiety about the ceremony.
The fact is Owens said all along he wasn't going, pointing to the very voters and writers trying to figure out his motives as the reason why. You don't have to respect his decision, but, so far, he's sticking to his guns.