DETROIT - Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb injected a race element into his rift with Terrell Owens on Wednesday, saying the receiver’s criticism amounted to “black-on-black crime.”
In an interview with ESPN, McNabb rehashed some of the low moments of his relationship with his teammate, making fun of Owens’ driveway apology and bringing up the race angle.
In November, responding to a question during an ESPN interview, Owens said Philadelphia would likely be in a better situation if Brett Favre was the quarterback instead of the banged-up McNabb.
“It was like, it’s unreal,” McNabb said. “That’s like me going out and saying, ‘Hey, if we had Steve Largent. If we had Joe Jurevicius. It was definitely a slap in the face to me. It was a slap in the face because, as deep as people want to go into it, it was black-on-black crime.”
Not long after that, an NAACP leader criticized McNabb for “playing the race card” in explaining why he didn’t run the ball as often as he used to.
In November, the Eagles suspended Owens for the remainder of the season for his repeated criticism of the team, McNabb and several other issues. The team recently gave Owens permission to seek a trade, and this week he visited the Denver Broncos.
On Wednesday, McNabb brought up some of the criticism he had taken through his career, and said Owens was simply piling on with his statement.
“It’s different to say, ‘If we had Michael Vick or Daunte Culpepper or Steve McNair or Byron Leftwich,” McNabb said of four black starting quarterbacks. “But to go straight to Brett Favre, that kind of just slapped me in the face like, ‘Wow ...”’
On that issue of trusting your teammates, McNabb talked indirectly about Eagles' players who backed Owens, and not McNabb, in the conflict between the star receiver, McNabb and team management.
"Personally, this is a sign for my teammates ... That person you may smile and talk to every day, that same person can talk about you in the media or publicly, or talk to somebody else about how he doesn't like you or is jealous of you or whatever it might be," McNabb said in remarks that appear in today's Philadelpha Inquirer.
"My name was thrown around like a cheap rag that just couldn't make it to the washing machine," he told the paper. "But sometimes in life, you have a learning experience, something that you can learn from and sit back and just dwell on the past, and hopefully it'll make you stronger mentally. Again, with everything that's happened, you sit back now and smile about it and move on."
Eagles who openly supported Owens last fall included defensive stars Jeremiah Trotter and Jevon Kearse — though he told the paper he doesn't have a problem with any of the current Eagles.
Owens apologized twice publicly — once after his preseason holdout and then again, in his driveway, after he was suspended.
“The first apology, that was to the organization,” McNabb said. “Then, I was thrown in there — ‘If I offended Donovan in any way’ — you know. Instead of that, you could have just told me, hey, I apologize for the way it came out. I didn’t mean it that way. Just come talk to me.”
CSN: The Super Bowl's golden anniversary will be held in the Golden State. The new stadium, which opens in 2014, in Santa Clara will host Super Bowl L two years later, the NFL announced Tuesday.
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