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Former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens livestreamed a disturbing video in which a white woman called the police because Owens approached her.
“You’re a black man approaching a white woman!”
While there’s a lot of context missing from what led up to this short video clip, that phrase gave plenty of context to the situation Terrell Owens was in while streaming live on Instagram.
With blue and red police lights in the background, Owens described how he exited his vehicle to speak with a woman who yelled at him about the way he was driving.
Owens exited the vehicle to speak with the woman and at some point the police were called.
For what, exactly? Owens is confused when he is accused of running a stop sign that…doesn’t exist.
The woman told police she told Owens to slow down and he parked and exited his car, to which Owens replied, “Because you’re yelling at me and telling me I almost hit you and I didn’t!”
The woman said Owens “harassed” her by approaching her, eventually exclaiming that because Owens is a “black man approaching a white woman,” his actions came across as threatening.
Owens calls the woman a “Karen” and describes the situation as “unbelievable.”
“I swear to God, I’ve never been a part of anything like this,” Owens said.
Owens posted an 11-minute video of the encounter on Instagram.
Terrell Owens Live Streams Racist Neighbor Calling the Police to … Go?
Even though Owens is a Hall of Fame wide receiver with a storied NFL career, his celebrity doesn’t change the fact that he still faces racism and harassment.
Two months ago, Los Angeles Clippers shooting guard Norman Powell went through a similar experience while working out at a Las Vegas gym. Fortunately in that situation, the white woman who verbally harassed him was arrested and taken away by the police instead of Powell being charged with any crime.
Yet Powell was subject to the racism and bigotry that Owens also experienced, although Owens had the added threat of having the police called on him.
What makes Owens’ situation even more disturbing is that the woman tried to justify her fear and her decision to call the police with a black man approaching a white woman. This statement is rooted in a deep, violent history of black men who have been terrorized by the state and by white communities for perceived offenses against white women.
Emmett Till was 14 years old when he was abducted, tortured and lynched for allegedly whistling at a white woman. It was 1955. In March, President Joe Biden signed the Emmett Till Antilynching Act, which designates lynching as a federal hate crime, into law.
Although the brutal murder and lack of justice seen in Till’s death seem decades away, seeing a white woman criticize a black man for approaching her is exactly why the teenage Till was murdered.
Owens escaped the situation unscathed, but a white woman dog-whistling to see Owens punished for approaching her continues a dangerous, racist precedent in the United States.