Salt Lake City, UT – U.S. Representative-Elect Burgess Owens (R-Utah), a former Super Bowl champion, condemned those who rioted and burned cities in the name of social justice and said that his ancestors would be embarrassed with the way some black Americans have been behaving.
Owens, an African American who will be sworn into office to represent Utah’s 4th Congressional District in January, has said he does not support Black Lives Matter or other violent protesters, FOX News reported.
“Whether it be Antifa, a terrorist group, whether it be, BLM, a terrorist group, I tell you one thing they have in common with the KKK: They’re cowards and bullies,” Owens said. “They hide their face. They go out every single night. They do it in gangs. Their goal is to destroy things, to intimidate people, to hurt people and to do all the things that are totally against the American way.”
The then-congressional candidate spoke at the 2020 Republican National Convention in support of the president and talked about how his great-grandfather came to the United States in a slave ship, FOX News reported.
Silas Burgess was sold at auction in Charleston, South Carolina to the nearby Burgess Plantation.
He escaped slavery via the Underground Railroad and settled in West Texas where he became a landowner, and eventually founded a black church and an elementary school, according to FOX News.
Owens, who was named for his great-grandfather, was born in Columbus, Ohio when his father moved there to get his doctorate at The Ohio State University after being rejected by Texas colleges because of his skin color.
The future football star grew up in the days of the Ku Klux Klan and Jim Crow and said he never interacted with white people until he was 16 years old, FOX News reported.
The family later moved when his father became a professor at the historically-black Florida A&M University, and Owens later made a name for himself on the football field at University of Miami.
Owens, now 69, played in the National Football League (NFL) for the Oakland Raiders and the New York Jets and earned a Super Bowl ring in 1981.
He later fell on hard times after he left the game, and ended up selling his mansion and starting over in corporate sales as a way to support his family, FOX News reported.
Owens testified before a House committee against slavery reparations in 2019.
“I’m so against anybody portraying that generation that did so much to raise such a great group of kids to be looked at as hopeless and hapless,” he told the legislators. “They would be put down and disgusted to be looked at as oppressed when we were victors.”
Owens said the Democratic Party has perpetuated victimhood, FOX News reported.
“As someone who came out of the NFL and lost everything and was a chimney sweep for a few months, a security guard at night. If I can do it, you can do it,” he said. “That’s the difference in the conservative message and those who are in the socialists and Marxists area. They want to keep you hopeless, so they get the power, and they get the benefit of you not believing in yourself.”
Owens also called Democratic Party leadership “elitist,” FOX News reported.
“These guys live the life of luxury. The NAACP, the Black Caucus [and] Barack Obama. Many of them millionaires and then telling the rest of us how this country doesn’t work,” Owens said.
The former Super Bowl champ has also been an outspoken critic of NFL players who kneel during the National Anthem, FOX News reported.
Owens got involved in the Mormon Church in 1983 after spending time with Raiders teammate who was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints and encouraged his children to go to college in Utah.
They took his advice and ended up staying in Utah after college, and Owens joined them out west in 2013 and opened a non-profit to help incarcerated kids transition back to real life, FOX News reported.
He said faith was a unifier that helped people to see past skin color.
“We become less racist the more faithful we are,” Owens said.
All six of his children and 15 grandchildren live in the congressional district that the former football star will represent, FOX News reported.
Owens has blamed the decline of many predominantly-black cities on failing Democratic leadership, a decline in faith, and the failure of black men to “man up” and marry the women they impregnate.
“When I was growing up, 70 percent believed and committed to family,” he said. “We now have close to 80 percent believe it’s no big deal to have kids and not take care of them.”
He said he and a group of other freshmen Republicans were working on a positive vision for America as opposed to the “dark” vision help by the Democratic Party, FOX News reported.
“The other side is all about divisiveness. It divides with color, with gender, with wealth,” Owens explained.