Burgess Owens

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Burgess Owens
Personal details
Clarence Burgess Owens

(1951-08-02) August 2, 1951 (age 69)
Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
EducationUniversity of Miami (BS)

Football career
No. 22, 44
Personal information
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:199 lb (90 kg)
Career information
High school:Rickards (FL)
College:University of Miami
NFL Draft:1973 / Round: 1 / Pick: 13
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Int. return yards:458
Defensive Touchdowns:4
Player stats at PFR

Clarence Burgess Owens (born August 2, 1951) is an American retired football safety who played ten seasons in the National Football League for the New York Jets and the Oakland Raiders. He is the Republican nominee for Utah's 4th congressional district in the 2020 election, and is a frequent contributor on Fox News.

Early life and education[edit]

Owens was born in Columbus, Ohio, where his Texas-born father had come to do graduate studies he could not complete in Texas due to Jim Crow laws.[1] The family later moved to Tallahassee, Florida, where Owens' father taught as a college professor. Owens was raised in a Baptist home.[1] He was one of four African-American players who were integrated onto a football team at a white high school.[2]

Football career[edit]

Owens graduated from Rickards High School in Tallahassee, Florida, in 1969.[3] Owens was the third of four black athletes recruited to play at the University of Miami and the third black student to earn a scholarship.[2][1] He was named a First-Team All-American defensive back, Most Valuable Defensive Player of the North–South All Star Game, and MVP of the Coaches All-American Game. He was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall Of Fame in 1980, and its Orange Bowl "Ring of Honor" in 1999. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and chemistry from the University of Miami.[4]

The New York Jets selected Owens with the 13th pick in the first round of the 1973 NFL Draft. During his rookie season, he returned a kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown against the Denver Broncos on October 28. This was the Jets' only touchdown scored on a kickoff return during the 1970s. He was a regular starter for the Jets for most of the 1970s, and was a part of the Raiders' 1980 championship team.

Post-football career[edit]

In 1983, Owens moved to New York City.

Shortly after leaving professional football, Owens and his brother ran a business that sold electronics to other businesses to track business expenses. The venture failed and Owens eventually declared bankruptcy.[1]

Owens later relocated to a small apartment in Brooklyn, where he worked as a chimney sweep and security guard. He later moved to Philadelphia, where he took a sales job with WordPerfect.[1]

In 2012, Owens moved to Herriman, Utah.[5] He is a founder, board member, and CEO of Second Chance 4 Youth, a non-profit dedicated to helping troubled and incarcerated youth.[6][7]


Owens says he left the NFL "a cocky liberal" but went on to become "a very humbled and appreciative conservative."[1] He has also described his current views as "very conservative."[8] In June 2019, Owens, who is black, provided testimony to a United States House Committee on the Judiciary subcommittee opposing a bill that advocated reparations for slavery.[9] Owens has also criticized U.S. national anthem protests and Colin Kaepernick.[10] In November 2019, Owens called Donald Trump "an advocate for black Americans."[11] He is a frequent guest contributor on Fox News.

2020 House of Representatives campaign[edit]

In November 2019, Owens announced that he would run for the U.S. House of Representatives in Utah's 4th congressional district. He was one of four candidates to run in the 2020 Republican primary. Owens won the primary and will face Democratic incumbent Ben McAdams in the November general election.

At a June 1, 2020, Republican primary debate, Owens said Democrats in Washington are held in thrall by Marxists and socialists, whom he described as enemies of America. "The days of Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neill are over. We're dealing with people who hate our country," Owens said. He also said the Affordable Care Act should be repealed and that he supported President Donald Trump.[12]

On June 30, 2020, Owens won the primary with 43% of the vote, defeating Utah State Representative Kim Coleman by a twenty-point margin. Owens also defeated challengers KSL radio personality Jay McFarland and businessman Trent Christensen.[13][14]

During an appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight on July 31, 2020, Owens said the National Basketball Association, led by Commissioner Adam Silver, is made up of "corporate cowards" whose first priority is access to the Chinese basketball market, and who seek to ensure Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 presidential election to that end.[15]

In August 2020, Media Matters, a left-leaning media watchdog group, reported that in May 2020, Burgess had appeared as a guest on a YouTube show that is tied to the far-right conspiracy theory QAnon. QAnon was not mentioned during his appearance on the show. When questioned about his appearance on the show, Burgess said he was unfamiliar with QAnon, and his campaign said he did not support it.[16][17][18]

Media Matters also accused Owens of plagiarizing passages in his book Why I Stand from sources including Wikipedia.[16][19][dead link] Burgess denied the plagiarism allegations and said he had cited and attributed all of the sources used in his book.[20]

Owens was a speaker at the 2020 Republican National Convention.

Personal life[edit]

According to his website, Owens was married for 34 years and had six children before he and his wife divorced. He is a prostate cancer survivor.[21]

He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and has spoken publicly about his faith.[3][22]

Owens joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during his final season playing with the Oakland Raiders.[2] In 1988, he spoke at a meeting sponsored by the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies held on the 10th anniversary of the 1978 Revelation on Priesthood in the LDS Church.[23]

Works and publications[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Burr, Thomas (July 6, 2020). "Meet Burgess Owens, the Utah Republican who seeks to replace Rep. Ben McAdams". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Toone, Trent (May 30, 2013). "Former Oakland Raider recounts LDS conversion". Deseret News. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Ensley, Gerald (April 10, 2008). "Ex-NFL player with Tallahassee roots speaks Friday". Tallahassee Democrat. Archived from the original on April 12, 2008. Retrieved April 15, 2008.
  4. ^ "Burgess Owens". Young America's Foundation. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  5. ^ Romboy, Dennis (August 20, 2019). "Former NFL player blames 'black elitists' for holding back African Americans". Deseret News. Retrieved August 9, 2020.
  6. ^ "Burgess Owens – Sagamore Institute". Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  7. ^ "A second look at Burgess Owens' Second Chance 4 Youth nonprofit". Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  8. ^ "3 GOP candidates concede 4th District primary race to Burgess Owens". KSL.
  9. ^ Segers, Grace (June 19, 2019). "House committee confronts the "inheritance of slavery" in panel on reparations". CBS News. Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  10. ^ "For Burgess Owens, his political journey began in an NFL locker room". SI.com. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  11. ^ Roche, Lisa Riley (November 6, 2019). "Former NFL player Burgess Owens gets in 4th Congressional District race". Deseret News. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  12. ^ "4th District Republicans debate economy, COVID-19 ahead of June primary election". UtahPolicy.com. June 1, 2020.
  13. ^ Mihaly, Abigail (July 1, 2020). "Former NFL player Burgess Owens Wins Utah GOP primary". The Hill. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  14. ^ "Former KSL radio personality Jay McFarland to run for Congress against Ben McAdams". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  15. ^ "Burgess Owens bashes NBA as 'corporate cowards' who need Biden for China access: 'They are into their money'". Fox News. July 31, 2020.
  16. ^ a b Relman, Eliza. "Republican convention speaker and congressional candidate Burgess Owens plagiarized large portions of his book, according to new report". Business Insider. Retrieved August 25, 2020.
  17. ^ Stauffer, McKenzie (July 18, 2020). "Report: Utah 4th District GOP nominee was guest on show linked to deep state conspiracy". KUTV. Retrieved August 25, 2020.
  18. ^ Roche, Lisa Riley (July 18, 2020). "4th District candidate appeared on program linked to far-right conspiracy theory". Deseret News. Retrieved August 25, 2020.
  19. ^ Editor, Bryan Schott, Managing. "Report: Republican Burgess Owens plagiarized numerous passages in one of his books". utahpolicy.com. Retrieved August 25, 2020.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  20. ^ Weaver, Jennifer; Hatch, Heidi (August 26, 2020). "Utah 4th District GOP nominee, Burgess Owens, defends book from plagiarism allegations". KUTV. Retrieved August 30, 2020.
  21. ^ Conklin, Audrey (August 26, 2020). "RNC speakers: What to know about Burgess Owens". Fox News. Retrieved August 30, 2020.
  22. ^ Kay Raftery (June 17, 1997)., "Pro Football Players Share Their Mormon Faith Ty Detmer, Burgess Owens And Vai Sikahema Told A Packed Sanctuary Of The Role Of Religion In Their Lives,". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved February 28, 2015.
  23. ^ Ensign article on meeting where Owens spoke

External links[edit]