By Mark F. Gray, Special to the AFRO

Terrell Owens is a narcissist who has hit rock bottom and it is shameful to the rest of the 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame class – including former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis – that he’s a part of it.

That Owens chooses to disrespect the sport’s all-time team is unfortunate. That he would distract from the greatness of this year’s class – and those who laid the foundation for him to get there – by not choosing to participate in the ceremony that honors his contributions to the game is reprehensible.

Terrell Owens will not attend his own induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Aug. 4. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)

Owens feels since he wasn’t a first ballot Hall of Famer it would be best to attend a made for himself ceremony at his alma mater – University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. Being honored by the select group of family and friends that made him feel so good about himself during his career that he had no problem throwing teammates, coaches and front office executives under the bus ad nauseum is bigger than taking his place on the all-time team.
That’s always been his problem. It has never been about the team, it’s always been about T.O. and nobody in his entourage has ever called him out about that.

“Team Obliterator”, as Fox Sports commentator Skip Bayless calls him, continues to blame the 50 pro football writers for not voting him during his first year of eligibility so he created another distraction that makes him look bad. These types of distractions kept him waiting for three years before he got the call from the Hall that many greats never get and force others to wait longer than him.

If Owens wanted true reverence he should have gone to Canton August 4, put on the gold jacket, and not marred a day that is special in the lives of those in his class. It would’ve also been an opportunity for him to clear up any misperceptions the public has. Hall of Fame induction speeches have become iconic moments that turn great athletes into legends. The messages and raw emotion that accompany their words are windows into the lives of the heroes under the helmet where the human vulnerability of Sunday gladiators shines a different light on them.

This was Owens time, yet he chose to forsake it.

Lewis, Randy Moss, Brian Dawkins, and Brian Urlacher are his contemporaries who speak with a reverence about their Hall of Fame classmate. Each spoke to Steve Wyche on NFL Network and praised his work ethic and the type of player he was. He is respected and revered by most peers as a player. But this time he must own the skeletons that continue rattling his closet.

Owens publicly embarrassed his quarterbacks, which derailed opportunities for him to win a championship. He questioned the sexuality of San Francisco’s Jeff Garcia by responding to a reporter’s inquiry, “If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck it must be a duck.” After his epic Super Bowl performance Owens was upset that Donovan McNabb wouldn’t fight for the Philadelphia Eagles to work on a new contract for him prompting the famous driveway workout. His most egregious offense was calling Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome – a Hall of Famer himself – an “Uncle Tom” when they tried to acquire him via free agency.

While Owens remains caught in his feelings about waiting three years to get the call, he’s not fellow classmate and Green Bay Packers legend Jerry Kramer who waited 45 years or former Houston Oilers linebacker Robert Brazile who waited 29 either. For one who needs admiration and respect, Owens will regret this forever.