Terrell Owens gave his Hall of Fame acceptance speech this afternoon at his alma mater, the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. Owens decided against attending the ceremonies tonight with the rest of the class of 2018. Instead he decided to give his speech this afternoon and unfortunately it wasn’t televised or streamed, so we have very little actual text from the speech. It’s likely more will trickle out as time goes by, but for now we have to rely on a few quotes, and they mostly have to do with why he is “protesting” the ceremonies tonight, and a little about how he views himself.
T.O. on the "elephant in the room."— John Breech (@johnbreech) August 4, 2018
"Many of you are probably wondering why we’re here instead of Canton. I’d like to set the record straight. It’s about the mere fact that the sportswriters aren’t aligned with the mission and the core values of the Hall of Fame."
Terrell Owens: "In my heart I know this is the right thing to do. They say I'm making the wrong decision, but sometimes you got to do what is the wrong thing for the right reason."— Teresa Walker (@TeresaMWalker) August 4, 2018
"Whether it takes 3 years or 45 years you should get what you've rightfully earned" @terrellowens— Chris Cook (@Coach_ChrisCook) August 4, 2018
.@terrellowens just asked anyone who has felt alone, misunderstood, anyone from small cities with big dreams, anyone who has been bullied...all stand up— almost the entire roundhouse stood up. Then he said, "This entire speech, you thought was about me, this was for you."— Nooga.com (@NoogaNews) August 4, 2018
"To the critics and doubters, the individuals who have smiled in my face but defamed me behind my back, you know who you are … this is for you." —T.O.— Nooga.com (@NoogaNews) August 4, 2018
“They say behind every great man is a great woman. Well, I had two,” Owens said of his mother Marilyn Heard, who presented him with his jacket; and his grandmother Alice Black, who died of Alzheimer’s Disease in 2012.
After thanking each set of people, he would tell them, “This is for you.”
Owens now getting emotional talking about his late grandmother. Calls her his "heart and soul."— Gene Henley (@genehenley3) August 4, 2018
"I feel your presence here. Thank you for everything."
Additionally, former Cowboys assistant coach Ray Sherman spoke before Owens and had this to say:
Former Cowboys WR coach Ray Sherman: "People often confuse anger with passion."— Gene Henley (@genehenley3) August 4, 2018
Said all Owens wanted to do was "eat, sleep and play football — and win, win, win."
Also, the NFL reversed course earlier this week when they initially said they wouldn’t honor T.O. individually at the official ceremony.
The public tussle began when Owens announced that, unlike every HOFer that’s come before him, he wouldn’t attend the enshrinement ceremony in Canton, OH. Football’s greatest museum responded by announcing that they in turn wouldn’t honor Owens during the enshrinement since, well, he wouldn’t be there.
The Hall of Fame has now decided that they will honor T.O. to those watching the ceremony from home.
Despite his decision to not attend Saturday’s Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, Terrell Owens will be “honored” by the hall for his NFL career.
Hall President David Baker tells The Associated Press on Monday that the Canton, Ohio, shrine’s mission statement begins with the goal “to honor the heroes of the game.”
Baker said NFL Network and ESPN, which both televise the inductions, will show a video of Owens’ career to the audience at home. That video will not be shown in the stadium.