Former Oakland Raiders Super Bowl champion safety Burgess Owens, who is running for Congress in Utah’s all-important fourth congressional district this year, has emerged as a cultural counterweight to the hatred that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has spewed for the last few years.
As the 49ers enter the Super Bowl this year against the Kansas City Chiefs—Kaepernick-less—Owens is offering a different vision for the country in a lengthy exclusive interview with Breitbart News. Owens played for the New York Jets during the 1970s before moving to the Raiders of Oakland and then Los Angeles from 1980 to 1982, helping lead the Raiders to their Super Bowl win in 1980.
Owens, who is an outspoken black conservative Republican, is seeking to flip Utah’s fourth congressional district back to GOP hands, running against Democrat Rep. Ben McAdams (D-UT). McAdams, a freshman Democrat, won the seat in the 2018 midterm elections and has been a reliable vote for Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during his so-far short tenure in Congress—including with his votes to impeach President Donald Trump.
While this particular race is extraordinarily important—Utah’s fourth is one of 30 districts currently represented by a Democrat that Trump won in 2016, and if the GOP flips just a net 18 seats such as this one back in 2020 they retake the House majority—Owens is also offering a broader cultural message for the whole country. As the left has infected sports culture with a fire, the flames of which are fanned by an increasingly political sports media—most notably with Kaepernick’s crusade against the flag and the national anthem and American culture, fueled by corporate dollars from Nike and other increasingly woke corporations—Owens is speaking out and offering a different vision for the country, and in particular America’s youth, especially in minority communities.
Owens draws a contrast between Kaepernick and former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who passed away just days before this interview in a tragic helicopter crash in southern California—and says America’s athletes have a responsibility to be more like Bryant, and less like Kaepernick. He said Bryant’s example of putting his family first, and leading by example, is a sharp contrast with Kaepernick pushing what he says are “Marxist” and “socialist” anti-American ideals.
“We have a responsibility as we pass the torch down to the next generation, and there is an example of someone we all respect: Kobe,” Owens told Breitbart News. “There is a difference in Kobe’s approach to life, and maybe some other athletes who don’t quite get it. So let’s start with the fact that every generation of Americans are responsible for one major thing. If we come at it aggressively, and do it the right way, we’re successful and we’re looked at as successful. If we don’t, then we have a different legacy. That is, what do we leave our children in terms of hope for their future? In terms of being educated for their future? And the ability to drive and produce great things in their lifetime? Every generation up to this point has done a great job. My generation has dropped the ball. We have allowed the socialists and Marxists to get in our school systems and teach our kids a different way than we were brought up. Kaepernick is a good example. In today’s society, our greatest enemy is socialists and Marxists who lay in wait and attack our most vulnerable. In this case, you have kids going to school fresh-eyed and excited about life and looking forward to a great future, but they come out anti-American Marxists. We have to understand that’s what we’re up against as Americans, and we have to make sure our kids have a better future and more positive future with love for country, God, and family—and we have to start fighting against this evil of socialism and Marxism.”
Owens said athletes from all sports—football, basketball, baseball, hockey, and everything else—should consider what their “legacy” will look like. He breaks a professional athlete’s career down into two phases, or chapters. First, he said, is making it big like Kaepernick or Bryant did, or like he did when he won the Super Bowl in 1980 with the Raiders. Second and more importantly, he says, is what kind of life an athlete leads outside of the sport and back in the real world in actual society. That is where athletes influence the next generation, whether it be through media appearances, charities, public works, and raising their families—or running for office, like he’s doing now.
“Now, to the other side of it, what’s your American legacy look like? I can’t think of a better example than Kobe Bryant,” Owens said. “What happens in athletics, we have actually different chapters in our lives. Athletics is one chapter. We go in there and we do our best and we get a reputation hopefully that’s a good reputation which is what Kobe did. But the second chapter is the most important chapter—what do we do when we’re out of spotlight? What do we do when we’re back in the real world and we have to deal with real situations and real people and a real family? What Kobe did, and that’s why we always respected him so much, he showed what his priority was, which was to make sure that his family had a safe place. He loved his kids, his girls, he loved his wife. He was a contributor to our society. He was able to articulate himself. He was an example for young people that were looking for an example. I’m so thankful we have people like Kobe, who is an example for young men and women. For, what does a man really look like? What does he do in life? Kaepernick is a good example of a young man who does not have critical thinking skills. You’ll never hear him giving long interviews. He does not have a love for our country because he doesn’t know our history. And he’s becoming a racist. As wealthy as he is, as much blessings as he’s had as an American, because of his skills he’s teaching and telling our young black boys to go become racists like he is. This is a time—I’m actually thankful for people like Kobe. Because this has been going on for a long time. This has been going on in our school systems for over a decade. We now have a chance, because of these debates today, we have a chance to see what’s going on behind the curtains.”
A big part of why things are changing so rapidly—and for the better, Owens argues, away from the more destructive Kaepernick vision and toward his vision of strong families and a better society—is because of President Trump. Owens said Trump’s predecessor, now former President Barack Obama, was “complicit” in stoking divisions along racial lines and waging class warfare through the culture of which sports are a huge part in America, but that Trump has turned the tide in a big way—something that terrifies the left.
“We also have a chance to see a president, who for the first time in decades is willing to fight the bullies that are bad actors,” Owens said. “We’ve had presidents that have been soft, and appeasing, or in some cases they’ve been complicit. President Obama was complicit with what’s been going on, with the division that’s going on today. But now we have a president who says ‘you know what? I’m going to draw a red line. I love my country and the policies we put out should be American policies, not black policies or Hispanic policies or white policies. They’re American policies and everyone should succeed and we’re growing.’ More importantly, he’s showing through example what Americans should do when we’re attacked by bullies: We fight back. We don’t sit back. We fight back, and stand up for what we are. I love that, and that’s why the left is in so much of a panic mode. We have many African Americans leaving the plantation and that’s a good thing.”
Owens’ race for the fourth district is one of the most critical for the GOP in the country. Fox News host Sean Hannity endorsed him on air on his radio program last week, telling Owens that he thinks “the world of you.”
“I fully endorse and support your candidacy, you’re a good man with a great heart,” Hannity told Owens live on air. “I think you’d be wonderful for the state of Utah and the 4th district.”
Other top Republicans, such as Utah’s former Lt. Gov. David S. Monson, also back Owens for the seat.
“Burgess Owens will be a breath of fresh air in Washington,” Monson said in a quote Owens’ campaign provided to Breitbart News. “His honesty, integrity and passion for helping our youth represent Utah values perfectly.”
Candace Owens of Turning Point USA also endorsed Owens, saying should he win he will be a “force to be reckoned with.”
“Burgess Owens will be a force to be reckoned with when he gets to Washington,” Candace Owens said in another quote provided by Owens’ campaign. “I’ve seen what his tireless defense of Conservative values can do and he is exactly the kind of American we need in Congress.”
But it’s not just political leaders such as Hannity and Candace Owens and state GOP leaders in Utah endorsing him for the congressional seat. Several former athletes have stepped up to back him as well. Former NFL cornerback and safety Ronnie Lott—who played for a number of teams, including the 49ers, Raiders, and Jets—backed Owens in a quote his campaign provided to Breitbart News.
“Burgess lives a life of service and loves serving those around him with the same tenacity he had on the field!” Lott said. “I know he will bring that same team spirit to this arena!!! I’m honored to be his friend and support him fully.”
Six-time Pro-Bowl running back Marcus Allen—who played for the Raiders and then later the Chiefs, and was the Super Bowl MVP in the 1984 Los Angeles Raiders win over the Washington Redskins—also backed Owens in a quote his campaign provided to Breitbart News.
“Burgess Owens is a man of integrity, and I can’t think of anything we need more in Washington. I’ve known Burgess for years,” Allen said. “He has a great desire to empower every single individual to live the American dream, which is why I know he’ll serve the people well in Congress.”
Owens told Breitbart News that athletes, as cultural leaders in America, have a responsibility to stand up and provide an example for the next generation. He puts an emphasis on family. He noted that Bryant, when he died alongside his daughter Gianna in that tragic helicopter crash last weekend, was literally on his way to his daughter’s basketball game—and that Bryant took a leading role as a father in his family, something that is too sorely lacking in too many places across the country. Because Bryant was such a positive force in society and especially with his family, Owens said, everyone nationwide—regardless of their politics, race, religion, or anything else—mourned his early death, and is remembering the best about him. Bryant won over the country, he said, not just on the court but off the court as well in that second chapter of life—a second chapter Owens, who retired from the NFL in the early 1980s after that Super Bowl win in 1980 is in now. Kaepernick on the other hand, Owens says, is a force for “bad” in the culture, sowing the seeds of division and hatred—core organizing principles of the radical left, which seeks to use that division and hatred to claim power.
“Here’s where it all begins: It is about influence. It is about examples and a message of hope,” Owens said. “It really does begin in the family, it begins with that dad who steps up to the plate. We have too many athletes today that have gone the route of socialists and Marxists, and what they’re teaching us about what fatherhood should look like. To them, it seems like fatherhood means cutting a check—writing a check—as opposed to being present and sacrificing and paying the price. Kobe’s life, I think this is why his last chapter is so important. It’s not something that he made public. He just did it. As a great athlete, it’s so much easier to be a self-centered narcissist—but he didn’t. He just wanted to do everything he could for his kids and prosperity and his legacy. His legacy will always of course be the great athlete that he was, but more so and this is why when he passed he had a groundswell of thoughts from everybody. It didn’t matter what race, what religion, what political stripes—it was all about the fact that he earned the respect of We The People because of his priorities. My message for athletes, and this is not just for athletes but across the board, athletes have an opportunity to make a difference if they have their act together for good or for bad. Kaepernick is for bad. The message that he’s leaving for kids who listen to him, those who don’t have a father, is one in which you hate America, you hate white people, you hate police, you hate authority, while he’s going out and self-centeredly getting wealthy off it. That’s the message of the socialists. That’s the left. I’m hoping that the greatest legacy of Kobe Bryant is that young men understand how important it is to respect themselves, respect their families, and move on to make a difference in the next generation that comes aboard. That is the greatest thing we can do, I don’t care what our occupation is, it makes no different if that last chapter is one of self-centeredness and the fact that nobody really cares about the fact that you lived. It’s sad to see athletes in that position because they never got it.”
Thanks in large part to President Trump, Owens said, athletes are feeling more emboldened to speak out and support the country and this more positive and productive vision for America and their communities rather than the destructive vision of Kaepernick. He points to Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark, who will play in the Super Bowl Sunday evening, wearing a pro-Trump shirt at a press conference last week highlighting Trump’s historic meeting with Kanye West as but one example of the culture swinging back towards his and Trump’s view away from the left’s view.
“The reason why we’re seeing that today is because the pendulum has changed, it’s swung back,” Owens said. “Because of the president we have, and because he’s fighting back, people across this country are saying ‘we’re not going to sit quietly anymore. We’re going to fight back. We’re not going to allow the PC culture to take over. We’re not going to be bullied into being quiet.’ That’s the American way, by the way. Once we wake up, we’re not going to allow anything bad to happen to our people. What we see now, and remember this all happened during the Obama years and if it wasn’t for President Trump who came along and drew a line that said ‘we will stand for the flag and we will not make a big deal of it. We will respect the national anthem, we will respect our police force.’ This is something that happened only after Obama left, and because of that Americans are saying this is the way it should be. This is the way it should happen. Americans are standing up and saying ‘I’m not wrong to love our country and to love our God, and I’m not wrong to not want to be bullied.’”
Owens, who has testified before Congress against reparations and other Democrat policies he considers hurtful to the black community alongside Candace Owens of Turning Point USA, added that many of the problems in America’s black communities stem from Democrat policies over the past several decades. Fatherhood in particular, he said, is a big issue in that too many men do not stay in their homes to raise their kids—but, he noted, leaders such as Bryant or himself or other athletes who chart a different course than Kaepernick could change that trajectory for the future.
“The problems that we’re having in the black community, because of policies by the left—the Democratic left—so many of our young boys and girls do not have fathers,” Owens said. “Because of policies that they put in place decades ago that incentivized fathers to leave their babies years ago. People like Kobe give us something to point to to ask do we really want to be happy? Do we want to leave a legacy where people care about who you are and your life? This is the way you should act. If you want to be a short footnote, and people don’t care for you or value who you are, then there’s the Kaepernick path. In a few years, we will talk less and less about Kaepernick because he really has not made a difference off the field. His second chapter, his second phase, has not been a successful one. I don’t care how much money he came out with out of the first phase, or how much he says he has in the second phase, he’s going to realize in time that the American way is not the way he portrayed.”
The Democrat left that sows this division understands, Owens said, the existential danger that President Trump represents to their stranglehold on power. This happens every time Trump stands with another professional athlete at the White House or somewhere else—whether it be when championship teams come in for a photo opportunity and White House visit after a championship run, or Trump meets players and athletes anywhere else or they speak out in favor of what he’s doing. Notable moments include when Boston Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale and outfielder J.D. Martinez walked down the White House driveway with Trump to meet much of the rest of the team after their 2018 World Series win, or when the New England Patriots appeared at the White House with Trump early in the administration. Others include many times Trump has appeared with pro golfer Tiger Woods, or when Washington Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki donned a Make America Great Again (MAGA) hat during his team’s White House visit, or when the Washington Capitals Stanley Cup hockey team appeared with the president—and when Trump ordered scores of fast-food items at the White House for when Clemson’s NCAA championship team visited.
— WCVB-TV Boston (@WCVB) May 9, 2019
— WCVB-TV Boston (@WCVB) May 9, 2019
Here's National's Catcher Kurt Suzuki wearing a MAGA hat today and getting a YUGE hug from Trump. LOL! 😂 pic.twitter.com/jOrN2sJjvn
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) November 4, 2019
Elitist Dems and their MSM allies don’t realize that most of America eats fast food, and found what @realDonaldTrump did for the Clemson players endearing and down to earth. pic.twitter.com/FXzGgHNv7k
— John Cardillo (@johncardillo) January 15, 2019
reminded today that Tiger Woods played golf with the President-elect of the United States, who was Donald Trump, with a bleached goatee leftover from a character he dresses up as called “Mac Daddy Santa” pic.twitter.com/o11Znrp6u5
— Brendan Porath (@BrendanPorath) December 24, 2019
President Trump with the 2018 Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals pic.twitter.com/vQ33tYGfoD
— Steve Holland (@steveholland1) March 25, 2019
President Trump loves the New England Patriots and praised them ahead of the Super Bowl. He wished the best to owner Robert Kraft, coach Bill Belichick, and quarterback Tom Brady, saying, “as you know, I’m a very good friend with them.”https://t.co/jnOOMbdKFV pic.twitter.com/6EGWlwUFfw
— ♦️…. (@bud_cann) January 31, 2019
— IyoCabesa (@TManagerPolitic) January 31, 2020
There are countless more such moments–and Trump knows how to use them to influence culture. Owens says these moments help change the culture in the sports world and the right is winning the broader argument against the radical left. Part of the reason why the left and establishment media freak out whenever Trump invites a winning team or group of athletes to the White House is because they understand the power of such moments in the culture and what influence they have on American kids who look up these sports stars as role models.
“We are winning, and that’s because Americans are waking up,” Owens told Breitbart News. “People need to recognize how the left works. Americans go out and we do our thing, build our dreams and take care of our kids—we’re playing checkers while they’re playing chess. They have always gone after our most vulnerable. What the left does is they use our young athletes, those that they have been training in the younger generation, so we have a guy like Kaepernick that sits on his knee and does not respect the flag. Who’s looking at that? Those 80 percent of black boys in those communities who do not have a father and look up to this guy as a hero. Whatever his thoughts are, they’re not thinking through and they never salute the flag in these communities and they don’t have a dad. So the athlete turns out to be their hero. This is what the left understands. If they can continue to have their mouthpieces through Marxists like Kaepernick tell us how terrible our country is, then they have people growing up voting Democrat. At the end of the day, that is what they can do to get power. It’s not about bringing our country together to have greatness in what we’ve done as a country. It’s all to get power, and in order to get power they have to make people miserable. They’ve done that for a long time in Chicago, Baltimore, Ferguson—you name it. The great thing about where we are today is we have a president that’s forcing everyone to think. It doesn’t matter that he’s not traditional. He’s a disruptor. He’s forcing the people, no matter what side of the aisle they are on, to think. Once you start thinking, you start to see we’re living in the best economy we’ve ever had in our history. Black unemployment, Hispanic, Asian, women—you go through a litany of things that are happening, and the place we are because of the policies, and those are the things that people talk about as Americans. We have something now that’s positive to talk about again.”
Owens points to “four tenets” first laid out by Booker T. Washington—heart, head, hands, and home—as the core critical part of American culture that need to be strengthened.
“I’ll say this, and I think I may have mentioned this before, is what made our country great is four simple tenets,” Owens said. “Four simple tenets that make it so easy to define conservatism and the American way and what President Trump is fighting for. No one ever highlights this for what he’s doing, but if you look at the foundation of what he’s putting in place it’s the foundation of the four tenets that were given to us by Booker T. Washington. The four tenets, very simply, are heart, head, hands, and home. Head, heart, hands, and home. Head being education, heart being God, hands being industry, and home being the family unit. Everything he’s doing today with policies is putting back in place a focus on those four tenets. And guess what? Whether it’s Democrats, Republicans, or independents, those who love our country love these tenets. And we also recognize those who hate those four tenets are—and it doesn’t matter what color they are—are the socialist, Marxist, radical atheists. They God, education, family, and industry—they hate it. So we now have something we can come together on, and know that we’re in a fight together—and know that as Americans we will once again win.”
If he gets to Congress, Owens intends to fight for these tenets against the left—and implement policies that strengthen them and by extension strengthen American communities and families.
“My goal is, and I will help anyone across this country that feels the way I do, but we need fresh eyes,” Owens said. “We need people who didn’t grow up thinking they wanted to be a politician but they love our country and they don’t want to see it succumb to these politicians. My goal is to take every single policy, every single bill that comes through, and put it up against our Constitution and those four tenets. I believe in education for every single child in this country, no matter where they live or no matter how poor they start off or what their zip code is. Education starts off with us needing to think outside the box, and if we allow our families—moms and dads, and the kids’ teachers—to get back control to take back education so we can help at the very beginning of moving people forward. The other thing it comes down to is heart, God. This country is based on Judeo-Christian values, which basically means this: We are tolerant, we are the most tolerant people in the history of mankind, because we believe in God and we allow people to see us from the inside out and not the outside in. Whether they have a faith or no faith, we still have a heart for people that we all understand comes from the same source. We all have a God in heaven, and we should respect each other and respect life. Obviously, life is big. So what I will be fighting for big time is the pro-life, to make sure everyone keeps the heart and to make sure womanhood is respected and is revered and that children—the most innocent—are allowed to take their first breath and live the American dream in this country. When it comes to industry, every policy I will be going for is one that will allow everyone to look in the mirror and see someone who is productive. The worst thing you can do for an individual is make them feel hapless, hopeless, and make them feel like they can do nothing to take care of themselves. You want to destroy and enslave somebody mentally? Put them on welfare so they don’t have to work anymore and just wait for somebody to take care of them—it makes people angry, entitled, and very anti-American. The last thing that leaves is the family unit. As our family goes, so does the rest of our country go. It’s time for all of us to recognize the power of womanhood, to respect womanhood. That’s the reason why in the past men have left this country and fought wars—because they love the women they are protecting and providing and are giving that partnership to. That being said, all of my policies will be based on the four tenets and based on the Constitution that gives us certain rights and those tenets are a big, big part of those rights.”
Owens added that this district—Utah’s fourth congressional district—is critical for conservatives and Republicans who want to steer the country in a more positive direction. It went Democrat in 2018. It was represented by now former GOP Rep. Mia Love (R-UT) for two terms before that. Before Love represented the seat, it was represented by Democrat former Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT) for just one term prior to the district’s creation in the 2012 elections.
“For those across this country, District Four is a very, very red district,” Owens said. “It’s one that shares the values of our country. It should never, ever be a Democratic district—but it is today. That’s why in 2020 this is the first and foremost top seat needed to get our country back. The Democrats need it to keep their power. The rest of us need it to get our country back. So everyone who’s reading this article, understand that the way that this district goes is the linchpin for the rest of our country. Help us to make sure that the values of this great state and this great district has a presence in D.C., and not allow D.C. anymore to come take this district and others like it around the country.”