Hall of Fame wide receiver Terrell Owens helped lead a protest in Southern California on Thursday afternoon following George Floyd’s death in police custody late last month, and called out the NFL for how it treated former quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the process.
After kneeling with the crowd outside of SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Owens the addressed the crowd through a megaphone.
They had just kneeled for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, which was how long a Minneapolis police officer kneeled in the back of Floyd’s neck while he yelled out, “I can’t breathe.” Floyd later died in police custody, and all four officers involved in his arrest have since been arrested.
“We just did that and we weren’t under any type of duress, Owens said, via the Los Angeles Times. “We need to understand what he went through. His death sparked a movement.”
Owens played in the league from 1996-2010, most notably with the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys. The six-time Pro Bowler racked up nearly 16,000 career receiving yards and had 153 touchdowns in his 15-year career. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2018.
He is just the latest prominent figure in the sports world to help organize a protest after Floyd’s death — which has sparked mass protests in cities across the country.
Owens calls out the NFL
Owens then turned his attention to the NFL.
The league, he said, owes Kaepernick an apology.
“We wouldn’t be here right now if Colin didn’t do what he did,” Owens said, via the Los Angeles Times. “It’s all come full circle. I’m standing in the gap right now for my brother, and they owe this man an apology.”
Kaepernick, of course, started kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 to protest many of the things that are being protested now. However his protests weren’t taken well by many, including President Donald Trump, and he is no longer in the league.
Now four years later, however, it seems public opinion on Kaepernick and his protests have changed. A new Yahoo News/YouGov poll on Thursday found that 52 percent of people said it was “OK” for “NFL players to kneel during the national anthem to protest police killings of African-Americans,” up from just 28 percent in 2016. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell apologized last week to black players for not supporting their movement earlier, too, and said specifically that “black lives matter.”
He did not, however, mention Kaepernick in that apology — something that Owens and others think is still much needed.
Moment of silence for SoFi construction worker
Owens and the group of protestors also took a moment to honor Juan Becerra on Thursday afternoon.
Becerra, a former construction worker, died last week after he fell more than 100 feet while working on the stadium’s roof. The group stopped to honor him, per the report, after walking about halfway around the stadium — which will be home to both the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers starting this season — near the parking lot of The Forum, an iconic music venue nearby.
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