Former 49ers wide receiver Terrell Owens is the latest athlete to publicly share the racism he has faced in his life.
In an interview with TMZ Sports, Owens said the public and media's perception of him led to him being pushed out of the NFL.
"I could've still continued to play but because I was outspoken, because of who I was, I wasn't allowed the opportunity," Owens said. "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.
"And to me, that was systemic racism. I experienced it when I was in San Francisco under coach [Steve] Mariucci. I experienced it. Trust me, I experienced it."
Owens was selected by the 49ers in the third round of the 1996 NFL Draft, and spent the first eight seasons of his career in San Francisco. He later played with the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals.
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During the 2000 season, Owens famously celebrated two touchdowns against the Cowboys in Dallas by running to the star logo at midfield and posing. He was suspended one game by the 49ers for the incident.
In 2018, Owens was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, though he decided to hold his own ceremony at his alma mater, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. A year later, the 49ers inducted Owens into the franchise's Hall of Fame.