They keep asking, looking for a reason, seeking an explanation.
Did they do good during their time of employment in the NFL?
Did they do things that left a residue of distaste in the mouths of lots of people?
So next August, the Pro Football Hall of Fame will open up its doors to 7-more enshrinees, from the greatness of LaDainian Tomlinson, the Chargers running back, to the dynamics of Jerry Jones, legendary owner and deal maker of the Cowboys.
There won’t be any speeches from Terrell Owens nor Paul Tagliabue, and there are alot of reactions as to why they did not get in.
Tagliabue, served the owners faithfully for 17-years. He drove agreements thru with the Union, that brought us labor peace. He negotiated record-setting TV contracts, that brought massive profits to all sides, owners, players, union.
He also was the ‘concussion commissioner’. It was that era, his handling of the injury issue, that is the blight on his forever record.
What he knew, what he believed, how he acted is as much part of his legacy as is the record 223M per year that each NFL team receives from its share of the television contract.
Tagliabue said last weekend how much he regretted what he said in 1994, that concussions were not a major issue. That it was the ‘pack journalism’ mentality of the media, that drove the story.
A decade later came the 4,800 player lawsuit, that led to the 965M concussion settlement, that will lead to payments to badly injured players, and the families of players who committed suicide over the head trauma they were suffering from.
Regretting what you said 23-years ago brings little solace to the families who lost fathers, husbands, boyfriends, who killed themselves. Little in meaning to the retired players now suffering all the after effects of concussions, diagnosed or ignored by Tagliabue’s self annointed concussions committee.
Owens was cut from a different cloth. If Hall of Fame credentials are wrapped around productivity on the field, then he deserves to have a a spot in Canton.
The numbers are indeed staggering, (1,189) receptions..(15,934) yards, (158) touchdowns.
But the greatness of the player on Sunday cannot eradicate the actions of the player the rest of the week. The malcontent attitude, the contract disputes, the personality clashes with teammates and coaches.
He went from San Francisco to Philadelphia, to Dallas, to other teams. It was always the same. Tremendous production, tremendous problems in the locker room. Here today, moving on tomorrow.
In the aftermath of the votes, Tagliabue remains stoic and silent. He didn’t stand up for the badly injured players during his tenure. He ignored them, mocked them, downplayed what happened to them.
Owens volume of noise, then, and even now, just will not go away, though there are many other troubled personalities who already have busts in Canton. He couldn’t stop talking when he played, cannot stop talking now.
The Tomlinson group is in. Tags and Terrell are out. And now you know why.