Terrell Owens was snubbed from the Hall of Fame this year, almost entirely because of his reputation as a controversial character. Owens was the best wide receiver in football for much of his career, and his on-field merits say he should be inducted.
According to ESPN’s Jim Trotter, who is on the Hall of Fame Selection committee and spoke about Owens on the SI Media Podcast, the debate surrounding Owens was unfairly “personal.”
“I voted for him. I will vote for him again. 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.”
Even the public comments about Owens’ exclusion have been personal. The Buffalo News’ Vic Carucci wrote the following about Owens, even after admitting he doesn’t know him:
He was a divisive force that the people who ran those teams had no problem cutting loose. I’ve heard critics say there were extenuating contractual circumstances behind Owens’ departures, but I don’t buy that for a second. If you want to keep a player, you find a way to keep him. The job security of coaches and GMs is far too tenuous to jeopardize by saying goodbye to a great player that can help you win. You don’t make those moves unless there is something else that leads you to believe he is doing more to hurt than help.
For his part, Owens isn’t letting this snub go. According to the New York Daily News, he is making himself is own Hall of Fame jacket with his career stats embroidered on the back. There’s really no better way to stick it to your critics.