Terrell Owens screwed Again!!
I watched the NFL honors show last night and I couldn’t get this nagging thought out of my mind. I’m not a typical TO defender, I’m not a NFL historian, former player, sports journalist, I’m not a Hall of Famer. But I have to ask: why is the NFL Hall of Fame voting committee embarrassing itself? It takes away from the prestige and honor of the most heralded individual crowns in sports.
My brother always used to say“sports is the last meritocracy”.
He always used to say this when he was younger; I hope he doesn’t believe this now as an adult. But let’s be real here, sports is just superheroes for grown-ups. It provides escapism, fantasy (no pun intended, but fantasy sports is popular for a reason), it provides us heroes and villains. We all hate and boo Roger Goddell for the supreme power he wields over our football crusaders; we hate Tom Brady because he doesn’t play for our team; we despise the refs when our heroes are given bad calls. Conversely, we believe our heroes are infallible beings, only capable of Herculean performance and efforts. We wear their names on our backs, to show our idolatry and reverence if not worship. They can never be flawed beings like us no; they can never have the same personality quirks, flaws, imperfections and misgivings we can have. It’s unthinkable to imagine our supermen as domineering or narcissistic or emotionally unstable no. Never. Could. Happen. Right?
But what if they are, then What? What if our supermen display character flaws that are not as we expected? We hate when the trailer doesn’t match the movie. What if one of the characters doesn’t act like a super hero is supposed to act……(cue suspenseful music) We as sports fans follow a code of conduct and display two types of behavior. We either ignore all the wrongs committed by our heroes or we change our view of that character- from hero to villain.
Kobe Bryant retired a hero even after his rumored turmoils in the locker room with Shaq et al, and even after his well publicized rape allegations and trial.
He was acquitted and proven innocent in the court of law, but he was also innocent in the court of public opinion. He was just too clean-cut, talented, handsome, and successful to be made the villain. What about another all-american hero: Brett Favre? As Nick Wright pointed out in the video above, Brett is beloved and adored by many. He is our hard-working blue collar champion and Super Bowl winner. When the name Brett Favre comes up, you seldom hear admonishment or recrimination towards his legacy. He was a great player, a great leader, a great man and that’s that.
Now back to Terrell “that’s my quarterback” Owens. His occasional arrogance and emotional instability has been documented. He has a reputation, if you will, as a destroyer of locker rooms. But, if the NFL Hall of Fame is going to remain a prestigious institution there has to be an adherence to a standard of merits, and it has to be applied to all players equally. Their voting should be above the typical sports-fan childlike hero villain classifications.
I end with this: