Weeks after he was left out of the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the second consecutive year, former wide receiver Terrell Owens is still taking shots at the selection committee.
Owens ripped the Hall of Fame on Twitter last month, calling it a "joke," and he poked fun at the situation over the weekend by referencing the Oscars best picture snafu. Owens even had a custom Hall of Fame gold jacket made for himself, with his career stats listed on the back.
On Thursday's episode of Undisputed, Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless reacted to Owens' ongoing protest, and Sharpe said that Owens is mistaken if he believes the voters he's antagonzing are going to change their minds next year.
Shannon: Terrell Owens needs to let his supporters and his numbers speak for him
"I’m one of those Hall of Famers, and I don’t have to be a source or be anonymous. I’ve talked to T.O., and I’ve told him the very thing the anonymous Hall of Famer told him.
I said ’T.O., let me be the mouthpiece. Let me defend you. I will do it. You don’t need to state your case, your numbers speak for themselves. But let me have this opportunity.
You don’t need to voice your opinion, because let me tell you what’s happening T.O. While you’re criticizing the very men and women that you say are unfair, or they’re biased, or they have this agenda against you. The very people you’re criticizing, you’re asking them to reconsider in another year and vote you in.’"
Shannon: T.O. will not be able to sway the voters with his antics
"They are human beings. They’re not going to let you last out at them and then all of a sudden side with you a year later.
He says it doesn’t bother him. It bothers him - because if it didn’t bother him he wouldn’t do this.
If you don’t care about being in the Hall of Fame, why does every time someone wants to talk to you about it, you bring it up? Why do you have a gold jacket with your numbers on the back? It does bother you! Because it’s the ultimate validation.
What the voters are saying, ‘look how he’s talking.’ Because they know this: once they vote you in, they can never get you out. They don’t care what you do. You’re in. You can’t get traded, you can’t get cut. You’re there for perpetuity."
Shannon: It’s natural for T.O. to be frustrated, but he can’t lash out
"But he won’t let the process be! Skip, I was frustrated. I had better numbers than any tight end before me. I had more Super Bowl rings than all the tight ends in the hall combined. And it took me three cracks with no blemishes on my resume.
I was disappointed, but I said publicly, although I was upset, I said publicly ‘how can I be mad, because there are a lot of All-Decade players, there are a lot of Super Bowl participants and All-Pro players that got left off. But hey, let the process play out, and when my time comes I’ll get in.’"
Shannon: It will only get harder for T.O. to get in as the years go by
"And I told one of the voters, I said ‘look, if you didn’t like 815 [receptions] with 10,000 yards and three Super Bowls… it’s not going to look any better next year. Because the further you go, the less good it looks.’
T.O., I get it. Your numbers, your body of work should have spoken for itself, but you’re not helping your cause… He’s always been outspoken. He feels that if someone is taking a slight at him, he’s going to defend himself. That’s who he is. The little bit I’ve been around him, he sincerely, honestly believes that people are out to get him.
… But I just wish he would stop talking. I voiced this to him. I voiced this to people close to him, and I will reach out to him again. T.O., you’re not helping your cause."
Shannon: There are a lot of Hall of Fame-caliber receivers coming onto the ballot soon
Skip: “Before I respond to everything you just said, I’m going to say this one more time. It deeply offends me that this voting process can require that it takes you three, or in Cris Carter’s case, six times.
… Is it fair to say that Terrell Owens will never be able to shame these voters into voting him in? Is that fair to say?”
Shannon: “I think it’s getting harder and harder. Because you know what’s happening, Skip? You get a Reggie Wayne coming up, you get an Andre Johnson that’s going to come up, you’re going to get an Anquan Boldin. Steve Smith. You’re going to get a Larry Fitzgerald.
You get all these guys, Skip, that have impeccable resumes, with no interference about what they did in the locker room or the distraction that they caused.”
Skip: Terrell Owens is very, very good at playing the media
“This is my two cents from a distance, that I feel like he no longer caresthat his criticism of the voters and the voting process is keeping him and could keep him out of the Hall of Fame.
Terrell is a shrewd operator. One of the shrewdest operators I’ve ever been around. I told you I thought he was very skilled at blame-deflecting in all of his days, in all those first three stops. But he canalso be a Hall of Fame self-promoter. He’s very good at it, and that’s not disparaging on my part, I actually admire that. He knows how to play this media game."
Skip: T.O. is enjoying all the extra attention he wouldn’t have received otherwise
"And I actually think he’s become a more sympathetic figure and has actually become more popular, and [he's] enjoying the fact that he’s become the Hall of Fame martyr by being kept out of the Hall of Fame. That he’s now become ‘the man the Hall of Fame won’t let in.’
And because of that, he’s getting a lot more exposure and a lot more attention and a lot more sympathy than he would, even if he had gotten in on the first ballot. That’s just me. He’s become a bigger deal out of the Hall of Fame than he would have been getting in on the first ballot. Because then he’d be a Hall of Famer and everyone would shrug and go on with their lives.
Terrell has fueled the flames of this, and he’s done it very well. And you can argue that in the beginning he was doing it because he so badly wanted to get in, but now I think he’s realized ‘man, my brand is expanded greatly.’