Respect Our Importance [Daily Game]

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NFL Legend Terrell Owens was one of my favorite athletes.

The first thing I noticed about Owens in his playing days was that he was always in great shape — like Instagrammer-Fitness-Model shape. Even today in his mid forties, TO looks like he hasn’t missed a daily workout twenty years (word is, TO might still want to play football, now, in some smaller pro league).

The second thing is that TO was always outspoken about his role on his football teams. I saw TO curse out coaches when he wasn’t getting the ball thrown his way often enough. He’d stomp up and down sidelines during games and talk up his teammates. TO even famously protested — with sit-ups — his below-market contract when playing for my hometown Eagles in 2005.

And oh yeah — TO was a good, really good, football player.

While his statistical performance is undeniable proof of his greatness, TO was denied entry into the Hall Of Fame for a couple of years, and any football fan knows why: TO was often a distraction at best, and out-and-out jerk at his worst with several teams and teammates.

You heard about the contract dispute in Philly. Multiple other times though, TO publicly (and almost always unnecessarily) dissed teammates and coaches as a method for, I guess, proving his points with the media. Arguably, TO is more known for that stuff than his actual performance exploits — and that’s what kept him from achieving “first ballot” status into the Hall of Fame.

The good news is, TO did get voted into the Hall this year. The way it usually works — and by usually I mean “every single time until this year” — every player who is voted in travels to Canton, Ohio, location of the Pro Football Hall Of Fame, to attend the yearly induction ceremony.

The ceremony is a big deal. It’s televised live, and each new inductee gives a 20-30 minute speech on stage (Ray Lewis, who seems to love giving speeches, gave a speech that’s already legendary). Fans who watched the now-legendary players in their heydays travel to Canton to cheer for their favorites one last time. It’s a big event for fans and players, and a showcase weekend for the NFL.

And TO, finally inducted into the Hall, didn’t show.

TO had announced, back when he found out he’d gotten in, that he would not be coming to Canton for the event — he would be doing his own celebration in a different way. It turns out that TO’s way was to have his ceremony (and give his speech) at his alma mater, the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. Surprisingly to some, the tone of TO’s speech was not very vindictive, despite the 2-year slight from HOF voters.

Though it’s all done now, it turns out that, due to TO’s decision to not attend his induction ceremony in Canton, the Pro Football Hall Of Fame is set to make a new rule that any player eligible for induction will be required to agree to attend the ceremony to even be eligible to be voted on for the Hall.

This is ridiculous on many levels.

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