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McNabb: Owens' barbs 'black-on-black crime'

DETROIT (Feb. 1, 2006) -- Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb injected a race element into his rift with Terrell Owens, 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 from Michael Irvin during an ESPN interview, Owens said Philadelphia likely would be in a better situation if Brett Favre were 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.

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 ... ' "

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."

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