It has been three years since Terrell Owens was finally inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but the legendary wide receiver, who skipped his ceremony, still has no plans to make his way to Canton.
The 47-year-old wide receiver told Bob Glauber of Newsday that the latest round of voting is further evidence for why he should plans to continue his boycott of the Hall of Fame.
“No disrespect to anybody that got in, but I just don’t understand the process,” he said. “Calvin Johnson got in [on the first ballot]. This has nothing to do with Calvin himself. The guy was a beast. But there’s no justification when you have [Torry Holt and Reggie Wayne on this year’s ballot] that have done equal or greater things.”
Owens, despite statistically being one of the greatest wide receivers of all time among the ranks of Jerry Rice and Randy Moss, was kept out of the Hall of Fame his first two years on the ballot.
Many writers pointed to his polarizing personality, in which he was quick to criticize his quarterbacks, such as Jeff Garcia and Donovan McNabb, that often made him the center of controversy.
“Nobody’s perfect,” he said. “If you want to cast judgment on an individual based on a few things that you hear from coaches, I can’t stop that. What great player hasn’t gotten into an argument with their coach or another teammate? I’m no different than anybody else. I haven’t done anything more drastic than anyone else.”
Owens also argued there was a racial component to the way he was perceived.
“At one point, I became the villain,” Owens said. “When I saw that other guys were doing similar things and looked at in a different light, I knew it was obvious as to what was going on.
“We talk about systemic racism, I was a part of it. I felt it. Talk to my [receivers] coaches — George Stewart, Larry Kirksey, David Culley, Ray Sherman. They said, ‘If you were doing something wrong, we would tell you.’ I thank those coaches. They know I’m indebted to them.”
The voters finally agreed to let Owens in on his third year in the ballot, which included an impassioned speech from late NFL reporter Terez Paylor who argued on Owens’ behalf.
The wide receiver recently learned about Paylor’s speech this week after his sudden passing at the age of 37 and said what Paylor did was “courageous.”