*Another congressional seat has been flipped from blue to red.
Burgess Owens, a Republican who played safety for the New York Jets in the 1970s, beat white Democratic incumbent Rep. Ben McAdams, who first was elected in Utah’s 4th Congressional District in 2018. Owens’ campaign website describes the 69-year-old as a “cultural counterweight to the hatred that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has spewed for the last few years.”
Owens flips back another U.S. House seat in a district that had been decided by less than 700 votes two years ago, according to USA TODAY. The GOP has added several seats to its gains in the House in this election, though Dems still maintain a narrow majority in the chamber.
USA TODAY reports that Owens made football and race part of his political identity in a district that is about 84% white and 1.5% Black, according to U.S. Census estimates from last year. Endorsed by President Trump, Owens has called Black Lives Matter a “Marxist” organization that is “against God,” and he’s been a fixture on Fox News channels, where he’s compared NFL player protests to Americans being bombed at Pearl Harbor and attacked during 9/11.
“Pearl Harbor, when they attacked us, the American people were sleeping,” Owens said on the Fox Business Network in 2017. “I remember the enemy saying, `We fear we’ve woken a sleeping giant.’ Well when they start attacking our flag the way they have and our culture, they have woken a sleeping giant.“
Owens grew up in racially segregated Florida and played at the University of Miami before being drafted in the first round by the Jets in 1973. He later played for the Oakland Raiders when they won Super Bowl XV against Philadelphia in January 1981, 27-10. In late 1982, he joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after learning about the religion through Raiders teammate Todd Christensen. He told the Salt Lake Tribune he was a “cocky liberal” around the time he left the NFL shortly after that but since changed his views.
Below is his appearance on on a show hosted by the other Black conservative Owens: