Former NFL star Burgess Owens is blasting the league for entertaining the idea of rehiring ex-quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who, in 2016, drew the ire of fans for taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem.
“If [NFL Commissioner Roger] Goodell allows Kaepernick to come back, if they allow players to kneel during the national anthem,” Owens told Sports Illustrated, “I’m willing to not watch the game.”
Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during “The Star-Spangled Banner” was in response to the racial inequities he sees in the country. Political activist Al Sharpton, who delivered a eulogy earlier this month at the funeral for George Floyd, a black man whose death at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis sparked Black Lives Matter protests and riots around the U.S., used the service to demand Goodell rehire the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback.
If the NFL were to readmit Kaepernick, it wouldn’t be because he’s qualified, Owens explained to the sports magazine.
“If it was a meritocracy, he would be out there anyway; he would work hard, he would prove himself,” Owens said of Kaepernick. “He wouldn’t be taking someone else’s position. We’re looking at Affirmative Action for a Marxist. We’re approving their ideology.”
But, if the league is going to go down that road, the former athlete continued, Goodell should also give ex-quarterback Tim Tebow his job back.
“It doesn’t matter how long he’s been out of the game,” Owens said. “It doesn’t matter his talent. He was a Christian who kneeled in prayer and was a positive on his team. The reason why Tim Tebow — as talented as he was with the Denver Broncos — the NFL didn’t like his essence. They thought he was too distracting, too distracting to his team and the organization.”
Meanwhile, we’re willing to have the distraction of a Marxist, a Castro, brother-loving Marxist to come back and play that many Americans don’t want to see him play. I just find it very disappointing. The NFL lost 15 percent of their audience last time, maybe a little bit more. The goal has been to increase their base, their revenue by going overseas to places like China, Mexico and England. They don’t care enough about their fans who love this country.
Owens, who is running for U.S. Congress in Utah, expressed frustration at the number of Americans in favor of protesting during the national anthem.
“We have too many Americans now accepting the notion that the flag should be a place where people should be ashamed of or take a knee, that’s what it comes down to,” he said. “I am disappointed that so many people are acquiescing today. They don’t understand the American way, they don’t understand the price paid.”
They need to understand that we can’t be bullied and [also] that we’re not an evil country,” the former NFL player added. “There is no other country in the world with the mixing of races and tolerance. We have to change the current narrative.”