Andre Tippett: Don't change HOF rules because of T.O. boycott


Hall-of-Fame linebacker Andre Tippett isn't afraid to say what he believes … and what he believes is that the Pro Football Hall of Fame should not make changes to its election process.

His comments, made on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast, were in response to reports that the Hall might consider a "T.O. rule" -- a proposal requiring candidates for election to agree to appear for their inductions.

The reported idea stems from Terrell Owens' boycott earlier this month of his Class of 2018 induction ceremony in Canton, and it provoked Tippett to caution the Hall against taking future action.

"I think it's something that we've got to be very careful of," he said. "You want to try to change the rule for one guy, and the rule is still the same. The rule should be the same for everybody. And, if he chooses not to be there, so be it. It's his loss.

"If you want to be treated differently, that's what's going to happen to you. I feel sorry for anybody that wants to follow that route because it's a lose-lose.

"A field goal is worth three points on the West Coast; a field goal has got to be worth three points on the East Coast. You can't go changing the rules because that's going to go open the door for a whole bunch of other stuff, and I don't think we want to go down that Pandora's box."

If you want to be treated differently, that's what's going to happen to you. I feel sorry for anybody who wants to follow that route because it's a lose-lose.

Like other Hall of Famers in Canton two weekends ago, Tippett was surprised that Owens refused to appear for his induction, saying he thought "it was going to be all hype" before it struck him that, nope, Owens was serious.

And he was, the first living inductee in the Hall's history to boycott his own induction.

"I was like: Who in their right mind is going to miss one of the greatest opportunities in the world?," Tippett said. "It's the last opportunity to get a high honor like that after your playing days are over. And when I heard it … and then when it happened … I still couldn't believe it.

"It's so sad. Not only did I feel bad for Terrell. I felt bad for everybody that coached him, his family, the people who have meant something to him regarding the game. And I thought that it was a shame he missed that opportunity because the experience is something you will never be able to capture again."

Instead, Owens held his own induction ceremony at his alma mater, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga -- with his speech televised nationally hours before the Hall's celebration Saturday evening, Aug. 4.

"I heard his speech," Tippett said, "and I heard what he had to say. And I thought, 'You know what? You got a message to give? Give the message in Canton. The Hall of Fame doesn't have anything to do with what happened to you. And the fact that you got missed (two) times, so what? What's the big deal? A guy like our guy from the Packers (Jerry Kramer): Took (45) years for him to get in, and he's still happy as a peach to be there.' "


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