Hall of Fame wide receiver Terrell Owens punched a man over the weekend in Southern California, a brawl that the retired football great said Monday was self-defense.
TMZ originally posted video of the altercation that unfolded late Saturday night in Inglewood, after Owens — best known for his years with the San Francisco 49ers before enjoying productive seasons with the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles — went shopping at a CVS Pharmacy.
Owens, 48, told NBC News Monday afternoon that the TMZ footage accurately depicted the fisticuffs, but didn’t capture what led up to the fight.
Once he entered the store, Owens said a customer approached him, identified themselves as a San Francisco 49ers fan and they exchanged pleasantries.
But a second customer came up to them and made threats against that 49ers fan before they all made their purchases and stepped outside, according to Owens.
“The guy I ended up fighting, he was basically threatening a guy, a fan of mine that was in the store,” said Owens.
“When we walked out, he approached the both of us and I was trying to prevent this guy from jumping on the fan. I tried to defuse or de-escalate the situation. He was persistent and wanting to beat the guy up. I didn’t want to see that happen.”
Owens said he and a store employee, who had also come outside, initially believed they had calmed the scene and successfully kept the second customer away from the first.
“Then he swung on me when he thought I wasn’t paying attention,” said Owens of the narrowly missed punch.
“At that point I went into ready defense mode. Not only for myself, but for the other individual as well.”
TMZ reported that the man who was punched by Owens did not call police.
A representative for the Inglewood Police Department could not be immediately reached for comment on Monday.
Even two days later, Owens said he hasn’t been able to figure out why the man was so aggressive to the 49ers fan.
“I don’t know. He was eyeing the guy the entire time,” Owens recalled.
“He said the guy said something to him. But the (49ers) fan was on the phone when I was talking to him. When he spoke to me, he was on the phone. So maybe he mistook the guy saying something to him, but I don’t know.”
Owens said he splits time between homes in Southern California and Florida.
Earlier this year, Owens posted video of a confrontation with a Florida neighbor who had complained about his driving and called police.
Andrew Blankstein contributed.