Former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens live-streamed a disturbing video in which a white woman called the police because Owens approached her.
“You’re a Black man approaching a white woman!”
Although there’s a great deal of context missing from what led to this short video clip, that sentence gave plenty of context to the situation Terrell Owens was in while he streamed live on Instagram.
With blue and red police lights shining in the background, Owens described how he exited his vehicle to speak with a woman who was yelling 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 befuddled as he is accused of running a stop sign that…doesn’t exist.
The woman told police that she told Owens to slow down and he then 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 that Owens was “harassing” her by approaching her, eventually blurting out that because Owens is a “Black man approaching a white woman”, his actions came across as threatening.
Owens calls the woman a “Karen”, describing the situation as “unbelievable.”
“I swear to God, I’ve never been a part of nothing like this,” Owens said.
Owens posted a full 11-minute video of the encounter on Instagram.
Terrell Owens live-streams racist neighbor calling cops on him for…walking?
Even though Owens is a Hall of Fame wide receiver with a storied NFL career, his celebrity does not change the fact that he is still subject to racism and harassment.
Two months ago, Los Angeles Clippers shooting guard Norman Powell underwent a similar experience while he was exercising at a gym in Las Vegas. Thankfully in that situation, the white woman who was verbally harassing him was arrested and taken away by police rather than Powell being accused of any crime.
Still, Powell was subject to the racism and bigotry that Owens also experienced, although Owens had the additional 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 the fact that a Black man approached a white woman. That statement is entrenched in a deep, violent history of Black men being 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 supposedly whistling at a white woman. It was 1955. This March, President Joe Biden signed the Emmett Till Antilynching Act, which designates lynching as a federal hate crime, into law.
Even though the brutal murder and lacking justice seen for Till’s death seems decades away, seeing a white woman criticize a Black man for approaching her is exactly why the teenaged Till was murdered.
Owens came away from the situation unscathed, yet a white woman dog-whistling to see Owens punished for approaching her continues a dangerous, racist precedent in the United States.