Tommy Hicks: Attitude is everything

Reading Time: 3 minutes

It’s just T.O. being T.O., people say when discovering Terrell Owens, apparently feeling slighted by not being selected for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on his first year of eligibility, nor his second, recently announced he would skip the induction ceremonies.

T.O. is P.O.’d.

So instead, Owens has announced, loudly (does he announce anything any other way?), that he will skip the trip to Canton, Ohio, for the official induction ceremony and find another way to celebrate the achievement.

Have a good time. Knock yourself out. You will not be missed.

Just a hint, should Owens find himself reading the column: this is exactly why you were not a first-ballot inductee. You place yourself and your wishes above all other things. Football is a team game and individuals are honored for their play in a team setting — for exceptional play — with their selection to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Your selection didn’t come fast enough for you, T.O., so you have decided to skip the main party and have a party of your own. We’re sure a good time will be had by all, just as we are certain your presence will not be missed in Canton.

Party on.

Instead of celebrating your selection into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, you are casting a dark shadow on the achievement. Certainly, your stats and play on the field earned you the selection as one of the game’s best; but at the same time, your attitude, your “Me First” approach and “Hey Look What I Just Did” manner allowed some to look past your on-field credentials.

In truth, you are missing out on one of the great opportunities you have ever been afforded: had you decided to attend the induction ceremonies as planned, you would have had a huge stage on which you could boast about yourself and even complain that it took those who elect those for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame way too long to make you a part of the HOF. Huge fail on your part.

As an Alabamian, it is disappointing to see another person from the state take the stance you are taking. Induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame should be welcomed, regardless of when it happens, with excitement, pride, thanks and maybe a bit of humility.

Perhaps, T.O., you should look no further than another member of the Class of 2018 to see what it means. Robert Brazile, a Mobile native and as such another Alabamian selected for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, had equally strong credentials for enshrinement. And yet he had to wait year after year after year until he was selected this year by the senior committee for induction along with another darn good player at his position, former Green Bay Packers standout, guard Jerry Kramer.

Brazile is ecstatic over his selection, even after all the years in which he was a finalist only to miss out on being selected. Was he bitter he had to wait that long? No, though yes, there was disappointment. Has he wondered why it took so long? Almost certainly. Does he plan to take part in the HOF induction festivities? You betcha. And he’s proud and happy to do so.

Like you, T.O., “Dr. Doom,’’ as he was known to Houston Oilers football fans for his great play as a linebacker, came from a small college (Jackson State) to make his way in the NFL. And when he got there, just like you, he proved he undoubtedly belonged. Dr. Doom started in 147 consecutive games, every game he ever played in the NFL. He was a game-changer on defense, was named Defensive Rookie of the Year, earned seven Pro Bowl appearances and was named to five All-Pro teams. He was, like you T.O., a dominant player at the game’s highest level.

Unlike you, it took quite a while before he was selected for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. And unlike you, he will be there, with bells on, thrilled by the induction and the honor that induction represents. So don’t save a seat for him at your party or gathering or brunch or whatever you have planned that we surely will find out about later.

And I and many others will celebrate Robert Brazile’s induction as a Hall of Famer, and we will be pleased we don’t have to hear your speech about how you have been slighted or disrespected because it took three years before you were selected. In truth, it will only serve to make the ceremony better.


Tommy Hicks, a Phenix City native, has covered sports in Alabama for more than 40 years. Contact him at