Terrell Owens said Saturday that he was subject to “systemic racism” during his time with the San Francisco 49ers.
The Hall of Fame wide receiver played for the franchise from 1996 to 2003, but made to point out the six years he played under head coach Steve Mariucci.
The 46-year-old claims he was “blackballed” from the league following his final NFL season with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2010.
“I could’ve still continued to play but because I was outspoken, because of who I was, I wasn’t allowed the opportunity,” Owens told TMZ Sports. “Because I was outspoken. 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.
“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.”
In 14 games played in 2010, Owens racked up 72 catches for 983 yards and nine touchdowns but couldn’t land another contract. As expected, he told TMZ Sports that he can still play in the league right now.
“There’s a lot of media that portray me a certain way to where now even people think I’m this bad person,” Owens said. “That I’m a character, I’m selfish, all these things. But, at the end of the day, I knew who I was and I just kept moving forward.”