Former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens made the unprecedented decision to skip his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony in order to celebrate in his own way, and the backlash has been coming in hot and heavy.
But, buried beneath the Ownes Bash Fest, lies a deeper rooted problem, one that exists with the voting process itself, and one that former New York Daily News’ writer Gary Myers, who has a vote in the process, pointed out.
Myers made headlines with his own comments on Owens’ decision, in a tweet, that has since been deleted, that he posted on Thursday.
“Terrell Owens informed Pro Football HOF he’s not attending induction ceremony,” Myers said in the tweet captured by USA Today.
“Unprecedented. Classy guy. If I knew he would not show up, I would have voted for somebody who would have. T.O was not happy it took until third year to get in. Don’t know reason he’s not showing up.”
Sure, Myers can certainly voice his displeasure or disagreement with Owens’ decisions, but to intimate that Owens’ wouldn’t be “Hall of Fame worthy” because of his preference of induction, something that one voter disagrees with, puts the spotlight on the process itself, and not a positive one.
Surely, Myers shouldn’t be allowed to cast his vote from here on out, because who knows which potential Hall of Famer may miss their chance at enshrinement because voters like Myers factor in personal emotion in the process, forgoing stats, accolades, and impact on the game.
Now, there are cases where emotion must be factored in. Players with Hall of Fame credentials but who may have been embroiled in criminal activity, or lewd activity, or even some screwed up scandal (PEDs for example) may create the scenario for which factoring in personal emotion matters, but not something as petty as Myers’ is venting about.
Myers represents an attitude, that far too many self-important journalists possess, which is over-saturated in sports media. Journalists who offer holier-than-thou analysis or insight that demeans readers who offer opposing points of views. And while social media breeds the nastiness that fans use far too comfortably, and far too fluidly when interacting with others, as well as these journalists, it still creates an issue.
The idea that a journalist would simply forgo someone’s rightful place in a Hall of Fame because they disagree with their decision of how to celebrate it opens a door for much worse.
If that has been the approach of one voter, than it’s possible that voters have, and do, take this approach in the process and it also makes it easy to question if other factors have weighed in on a potential voting process, such as race, religion, creed, sexual orientation, lifestyle preference, or simply one’s interaction with a candidate.
Is this how this process has unfolded? It’s impossible to say it has, but it’s equally impossible to say that the Myers fiasco is an isolated incident.
Which leaves us where we are now.
If the Hall of Fame is to ease some of this right now, start by ensuring that Myers’ ability to vote is revoked and then keep a close eye on how these processes play out from here on out.
If the integrity of the Hall of Fame is the name of the game, then the process needs to uphold the standard of that integrity, as well as it’s voters.