Can I Have That Ballot Back?

June 8th, 2018


The latest fiasco involving Terrell Owens isn’t a big surprise – and doesn’t that kind of say it all?

Why should anyone think Owens would change his bizarre behavior just because he’s been fitted for a gold jacket. In this case, clothes don’t make the man, they reveal him.

One of the most prolific wide receivers in NFL history says he’s not going to Canton in August for his Hall of Fame induction. He says he means no disrespect to all the men honored before him, a group which includes Lee Roy Selmon, Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks.

Bottom line? Owens is still a lousy teammate.

It’s still all about him instead of the Class of 2018 as a whole.

This time, Owens has gone too far. This time, even his enablers are struggling to excuse his nonsense.

Leading up to the induction ceremony, Owens will dominate the story lines, even if he changes his warped tune and decides to show.

Nobody will be focusing on fellow new Hall of Famers Ray Lewis, Randy Moss, Brian Urlacher, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Robert Brazile and Bobby Beathard. That’s the way T.O.likes it … all eyes on him, even when he’s making an ass out of himself.

On his worst day, Sapp wouldn’t disrespect the Canton shrine like Owens just did.

Poor Value

When Brooks was elected in 2014, the first thing he told Hall of Fame President David Baker was that he wanted to help grow the NFL’s shrine to excellence.

Let’s try something here. For a moment, let’s draw a comparison between Owens and Groucho Marx.

It was Groucho who once sent a letter of resignation to the Friar’s Club, explaining: “I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as one of its members.”

That’s called humor. Owens wouldn’t know funny if it wrapped him in a horse collar.

You think John Lynch, already rebuffed five times as a Hall of Fame finalist, would ever consider skipping an induction ceremony? Ronde Barber, who didn’t even make the final 15 in his first year of eligibility, can’t wait to join the greats of the game.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame has a list of its values — commitment, integrity, courage, respect and excellence. On that scale, Owens is 1-for-5, batting .200.

He was an excellent wide receiver.

Solitary Confinement

But there’s a reason Owens didn’t make the Hall in his first two tries. Not enough voters in the room were willing to overlook his corrosive effect in the locker room.

Don’t try to draw parallels between Sapp and Owens. One guy was boorish in public. The other guy ripped his quarterback in public. One guy didn’t sign autographs. The other guy refused to sign on with the program.

When the selectors gathered in Minneapolis on the morning before the Super Bowl, I relented and voted for Owens as a Hall of Famer. A few people in the game who I respected had helped to change my mind, so I checked off Owens on my ballot.

Hey, Mr. Baker, can I have that ballot back?

A .200 hitter doesn’t deserve a place with the immortals. Keep his bust in the room, but keep it far away from Selmon, Sapp and Brooks.

In fact, keep it off in the corner, all by itself.

Ira Kaufman is the most revered sports personality and writer in town. He has hung his hat at world headquarters since July 2016. Tampa Bay’s only Pro Football Hall of Fame voter, Ira busts out columns here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and his award winning podcasts fire Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can also hear Ira on SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio Wednesdays during football season, and see him now on Mondays at 10:30 p.m. on Spectrum Sports 360 (aka BayNews 9). Ira also is part of the FOX-13 Tailgate Sunday show and enjoys beet salads, Riesling, Chiefs victories and needling Joe.

49 Responses to “Can I Have That Ballot Back?”

  1. AlteredEgo Says:

    Oh well…the buffoon has sealed his fate….

  2. DB55 Says:


    TO should have easily been 1st Ballot HOFer but ya needed to put him in his place so….

    Personally I love it!

  3. Bird Says:

    That’s my quarterback

    (With tears steaming down his face)

    One of most pathetic quotes ever. He is completely unstable human being.
    Should be voted to “all worst teammate team”

  4. Lamarcus Says:

    Reporter:.” Do you know there is no I in team?

    T.0.:. ” Yes. I do. But there is a M and E tho”

  5. Joe Blahak Says:

    This idiot is not a Hall of Famer, period. I thought the Hall meant more than numbers. He was voted in on the silly statistics alone. He doesn’t have any of this: “commitment, integrity, courage, respect and excellence”. I thought the Hall really lost it’s way when he was selected or even just considered. Scumbags in a holy place for football? Sad day for the purists and people that live and breath NFL football daily, like myself.

  6. DB55 Says:

    No commitment? Dude played in the SB with a broken ankle. Your hate blinds you.

  7. 813bucboi Says:

    everything that glitters aint gold!!!!!!


  8. 813bucboi Says:

    TO still hasn’t learned the game will always be bigger than him…..TO is making a huge mistake…..attending would’ve been the perfect way to celebrate his great career… he’ll be quickly forgotten…..and no one will care….sad….


  9. Jolly Bucs Fan Says:

    Never thought this guy should have got in. This proves it

  10. Bucsfanman Says:

    “not a Hall of Famer”?! Really?! Oh, newsflash, there are more than a few “scumbags” in the HOF, BTW.
    The hall is supposed to be based on accomplishments. Google the guy’s stats. There’s only ONE wide receiver better, and that would be Jerry FREAKIN’ Rice!!!
    Is he an absolute tool?! Undeniably. Statistically, however, he’s a 1st ballot guy who got shafted by his own antics and mouth.
    Him snubbing the Hall is kind of sad, but I dare say he was not well respected to begin with. It’s a shame. Dude’s a tool!

  11. Phil Says:

    Not sure why anyone voted for him to be in the Hall of Fame. He doesn’t belong there. Of course neither does Terrell Davis but he got elected. Meanwhile someone who does belong Simeon Rice sits on the sideline. He was a 1000 times better player than Owens or Davis.

  12. DB55 Says:

    The man is bi-polar. Positive he has the same condition as Brandon Marshall and many others. Just because he doesn’t fit within your rules of etiquette does not negate his accomplishments.

  13. AlteredEgo Says:

    He may be bi polar but he is not stupid….

  14. stpetebucsfan Says:


    Cmon bro. TO’s “behavior” is what tarnished his reputation. And in this very rare case it’s not even racist because black players grew weary of his shenanigans as well.

    Nobody is picking on him. He brought it all on himself. Now I get feeling like Kaepernik is a victim. He was simply trying to exercise his free speech rights to protest a horrible wrong taking place in the country.

    TO was simply being a self centered arrogant jackass….it was always about himself…he’d make a great Presidential candidate.

  15. Reality-is-a-Beotch Says:

    Hof is meaningless. The only thing more meaningless in nfl is the dinosaur has been voters who take the hall of mediocrity seriously. The voters have rendered themselves a joke and a once great institution meaningless. Next

  16. Darin Says:

    Hof meaningless? You’re cut off. Thats one of the worst comments Ive ever seen. Might be meaningless to you and you only. As far as T.O. goes….He shouldnt be allowed to attend if he did change his mind. Like you said its all about him. Let them not make it more about him and let him attend now. Let the night belong to the greats who have achieved the ultimate, and want to soak up every second of it.

  17. Buc4lyfe79 Says:

    I’m sure liberal loving Florio, Owens biggest public advocator, is typing up an excuse piece right stating that if HOF presentors wanted him in attendance, then they should have made him a recipient when he first became eligible lmao.
    Hey Irv!!!! You all got exactly what you voted for. That’s what happens when you sacrifice your standards to pacify someone publicly touting how they were entitled to already be in the HOF. Way to make your votes count!!

  18. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Personally, I would have never voted him in. But what is done is done, no point in crying over it now.

  19. BeenjaminTampa Says:

    I agree with DB55. T.O is easily a 1st ballot HOF’er based on his stats. The Hall wanted to send a weak ass message by denying him his 1st year. And now they’re all butthurt because he’s not going to be there.

    I love the move, I would do the same thing if I were him! The voting process for the hall is flawed and needs to be changed. This sheds even more light on that.

    The people who are upset about T.O are probably the same people upset about players kneeling for the anthem. Get over yourselfs

  20. DB55 Says:


    The guy got issues, have you seen his 30 for 30 documentary? He met his father at age 12 and his dad had been living directly across the street his whole life. Didn’t find out until he developed a crush on his sister. Ijs.

    Bottom line is TO is waving a huge middle finger to the voters and I’m here for all of it.

    The bum arse voters voted Chris carter into the Hall. COME ON MAN!! Carter is a bum! And if not for his ties to the media he has zero qualifications for the hog. Dungy doesn’t either!

    I’m shocked they voted in Randy Moss.

  21. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    stpetebucsfan Says
    “Now I get feeling like Kaepernik is a victim. He was simply trying to exercise his free speech rights to protest a horrible wrong taking place in the country.”

    I have no proof of this, but I am thoroughly convinced that Kaepernik took that first knee because he was not paying attention and the Anthem began, then he was just lazy.

    And then, when the poop hit the fan, he made up the whole protesting thing.

    The way I see it, did Kaepernik add or take from the NFL? What did his protests really accomplish? It surely did not bring attention to Black Lives Matter…all the attention was instead on his lack of Patriotism.

    Kaepernik made his bed and had to lay in it. It’s his own fault. So what if teams won’t sign him because of it? I see nothing wrong with that. He made his free choice…but that does not mean freedom from consequences.


  22. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:


    Ties to the media surely have not helped John Lynch or Ronde Barber.

  23. Joseph Mamma Says:

    Michael Irvin and Lawrence Taylor embody the integrity, courage, respect, and excellence the Hall represents? Irvin once stabbed a teammate with a pair of scissors in the throat, but TO is the lousy teammate? Give me a break. Who cares if he skips the meaningless ceremony? And as far as slime ball player’s, TO ain’t even top 100.

  24. Bucsfanman Says:

    Statistically, I don’t see how anyone can argue whether or not he belongs.
    He committed no crimes unlike other notable HOF’ers (um, allegedly! LOL!).
    He’s an a$$! I don’t recall a prerequisite otherwise.

    For the record, even though I 100% believe he belongs, him not attending is disrespectful and I do not hold him in high regard.

  25. Knucknbuc Says:

    Lol the irony of rescinding TO s hall of fame vote because he was a d!ck to people while putting up the 2nd best stats ever for a wide receiver. While ray “murder” Lewis gets in first ballot is irony st its finest.

  26. DB55 Says:

    What Joseph Mamma said. #RayLewis

  27. Bucsfanman Says:

    OJ Simpson? LT crackhead?
    Oh, the hypocrisy!

  28. Not there yet Says:

    All the media types in that voters room now your saying he’ll dominate the headlines instead of guys like Ray Lewis and Randy Moss? It’s twice your fault.

    Kap took a hit by taking a stand for what he believes and he’s made fun of and his job taking from him. A media guy here I love is telling me Owens will dominate theheadlines after this stunt and they can do nothing about it because they will cover him regardless

    Just once take A stand like you all did when he was snubbed and don’t report on him give the audience nothing related to Owens and report on the other guys that plenty of news. All that power to make him irrelevant and no idea when to use it. Because you think the world would care what’s going on in the mind of Terrell Owens….shameful

  29. 813bucboi Says:


    your way off if you think kap didn’t accomplish anything… must be living in a cave if you haven’t noticed what’s going on…..either that or you just don’t care about social injustice……I’ll keep it short…..

    because of kap, BLM is now a world wide movement…..

    kap and his lawyers subpoena trump……that’s bringing attention indeed…..



  30. 813bucboi Says:

    bonzai says: What did his protests really accomplish? It surely did not bring attention to Black Lives Matter

    if you have to ask that question, then your part of the problem……



  31. Joe Blahak Says:

    Kap wasn’t starting when he did his stunt….Just a way to get in the news, from another attention wh*re

  32. Destinjohnny Says:

    Like uncle Jed used to say
    One day i got to have a long talk with that guy

  33. GhostofSchiano Says:

    Hey Ira, put Owens bust in the restroom……where it belongs

  34. Trench War Says:

    So Ira what was Owens reason to skip the ceremony or did he even give one?

  35. Dave Pear Says:

    Didn’t Owens imply that Jeff Garcia was gay in a Playboy interview?
    When asked: Is Jeff Garcia gay?
    He answered: ” Like my boy tells me: If it looks like a rat and smells like a rat, by golly it is a rat.”
    Great team mate.
    Probably just a RN.

  36. Dave Pear Says:

    Oh yeah… Jeff Garcia Married a Playboy model and had a child.
    Just saying.

  37. NFLNut Says:

    Kap is irrelevant

  38. ManzielMadness Says:

    Guy may be an @sshole, however he’s got the numbers to belong.

  39. ManzielMadness Says:

    At the end of the day the HOF is reserved for people who PERFORMED on the field. T.O. is 8th all time in career receptions with 1078, 2nd in receiving yards with 15934, and 5th with 156 TD’s. If it was an award for nice guys then GMC is a first ballot HOF’er.

  40. Bradentonbuc Says:

    He’s got the numbers and he is the HoF of diva WR’s.

  41. Bradentonbuc Says:

    Queen ocho cinco shouldn’t get one though just cause he tried that stunt

  42. Maze Says:

    Worst thing I’ve ever read by Ira. Good for Owens

  43. Anonymous Says:

    I agree with Owens on this. The voters made it personal when they inducted an inferior player in Marvin Harrison over him. This isn’t the “Hall of Great Character.” It’s the Hall of Fame. And T.O. is one of the top 3 WR’s of ALL TIME. I am more disappointed in the Hall of Fame voters who obviously made it personal when they decided that they would put in a receiver with less yards, touchdowns and catches over Owens. Now THAT is shameful.

  44. wow ira Says:

    Lost all respect for Ira. Will no longer support your columns or your podcast, what a joke you just made yourself. Hope it was worth the clicks.
    Ira is here to give his opinion and to report. Every column he writes has some cheering and other shaking their heads. That written, what did Ira really say here? Might want to re-read it. –Joe

  45. WestCoastBucsFan Says:

    This is really disappointing Ira. The HoF is for football accomplishments. You and the other voters have clearly made this personal. This is just sad.
    Considering Ira voted for Owens, it’s hard to understand your take complete. Ira was sharing his current opinion. His vote was not compromised and Ira wouldn’t allow that to happen. Heck, Ira just went out of his way to talk to Ryan Fitzpatrick about T.O. and Fitz’s mad respect for T.O. was in Ira’s column today. Does that sound like a guy who made a Hall vote personal?–Joe

  46. WestCoastBucsFan Says:

    Judging by the title of the article, it seems Ira would have changed his vote with current information. Unless I assumed incorrectly with “Can I Have That Ballot Back?” That is what my issue is with.

    Also, as another commenter pointed out, the voters only recognized T.O. after punishing him for a year and voting what is widely regarded as a lesser receiver in.

  47. Chris Says:

    Articles like this are meant to get a rise out of people. There are many good points made here in the comments, and others not so much. The guy is a HOFer regardless of how anyone feels about him on a personal level. The fact there are moderators posting rebuttals to comments is hilarious.

  48. Adam Says:

    What a lame article. Your job is to vote for the on field performance- period. … Let Joe interrupt you right there. Ira voted for T.O. It’s right there in the article and he talked about his vote when it happened. –Joe It was a complete joke that T.O. didn’t make it in his first year, and honestly would never have happened had T.O. been white.

    I don’t even like T.O. and he’s never been on a team I supported but Ira and everyone else saying they would rescind their votes are wrong.

    Not everyone is going to be a Selmon or Brooks. Why do you want the players to give the same politically correct answers and project the same politically correct image their whole careers? Because that’s how the game was played when you were a kid? Give me a break.

  49. Adam Says:

    To respond to JBF’s take on my message:

    I understand he voted for T.O. He can chalk it up to creative liberties but titling his article “Can I Have That Ballot Back?” makes Ira’s position on the matter pretty clear.

    This entire saga with T.O. has only helped to diminish the prestige of the hall and made the voters out to look like spineless weathervanes.