Terrell Owens revealed he experienced "systemic racism" in the NFL during his time with the San Francisco 49ers, and former head coach Steve Mariucci seems to be the one to blame. The 46-year old Hall of Fame wide receiver talked to TMZ about the ordeal and revealed by he was "blackballed" from the NFL in 2011. He believed he would have still have been playing in the league at the time but was denied because of his personality.
"Because I was outspoken," he said. "Because of who I was and because of some of the coaches that said things behind closed doors and got in the ears of these owners, that's why I wasn't able to really continue on with my career." Owens continued: "To me, that was systemic racism. I experienced it when I was in San Francisco under coach Mariucci. I experienced it. Trust me, I experienced it." Owens wouldn't get into specific but said because of what happened in San Francisco, his reputation was damaged. TMZ reached out to Mariucci but have yet to hear from him. The 49ers have commented but Owens said he's on good terms with team owner Jed York. Owens said: "I just want to be clear, my racism experiences were more with Mariucci and not under the current ownership with the 49ers."
Owens has been active recently when it comes to the protests going on in the country. Last week, the former 49ers star led a protest for George Floyd, which also turned out to be a rally for Colin Kaepernick. Owens wants the NFL to apologize to the former 49ers quarterback for teams not signing him due to him protesting during the national anthem in 2016. Like the protests going on now, Kaepernick was speaking out against racial injustice and police brutality.
"We wouldn't be here right now if [Kaepernick] didn't do what he did," Owens said at the rally in Los Angeles. "It's all come full circle. I'm standing in the gap right now for my brother, and they owe this man an apology." Owens was a member of the 49ers from 1996-2003. He also played for the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals before his NFL career came to an end. He was named to the Pro Bowl six times as well as the 2000s All-Decade Team.