A 10-year NFL veteran who dubs himself the “anti-Colin Kaepernick” has won a seat in the United States House of Representatives.
Republican Burgess Owens defeated Democratic incumbent Ben McAdams to represent the Salt Lake City suburbs of Utah’s 4th Congressional District. McAdams conceded on Monday following a close count that showed Owens winning by a margin of less than 1 percent. The Associated Press called the race for Owens.
All four of Utah’s U.S. House seats are now held by Republicans.
Owens, 69, played safety in the NFL from 1973-82 with the New York Jets and Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders. He won a Super Bowl with the Raiders. He joined the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after his football career.
Owens criticized for association with QAnon
Owens aligned himself with President Donald Trump and associated with the QAnon conspiracy theory when speaking with far-right media outlets during his campaign. QAnon is a baseless Trump-supporting theory that believes Democrats are Satan-worshipping cannibals and pedophiles who run a global child sex-trafficking ring. The FBI has deemed it a domestic terrorist threat.
“Anytime you bring up child trafficking, we get from the left, a word called QAnon,” Owens said during a syndicated radio appearance in October, per The Deseret News. “One of the things we need to recognize with the left is if they ever say the word conspiracy, let’s look into it much deeper because there’s something they’re trying to keep us away from.”
His spokesman, Jesse Ranney, denied to the Associated Press that Owens believes in QAnon.
Owens: Be like Kobe, not Kaepernick
Owens made criticizing Kaepernick a central theme of his campaign.
On his campaign site, Owens is described as “as a cultural counterweight to the hatred that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has spewed for the last few years” and “an outspoken black conservative Republican.”
He made multiple appearances on Fox News to criticize Kaepernick, calling him “an anti-American leftist.”
In an interview with extreme right-wing outlet Breitbart News, Owens urged people to be more like Kobe Bryant than Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback ostracized on the right for his protests of police brutality and racial injustice during the national anthem.
Owens thanked Utah voters on Twitter Monday night.
Thank you Utah voters. I'm honored to have the opportunity to serve. I promise to be an open ear for all Utahns and to serve with all I have. Now, it's time to get to work.
— Burgess Owens (@BurgessOwens) November 17, 2020
He has not publicly commented otherwise since McAdams conceded.
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