Houston Texans owner Bob McNair has apologized after making an analogy about the NFL allowing players to kneel in protest during the national anthem.
“We can’t have the inmates running the prison,” McNair said regarding the issue during a meeting with NFL players and executives, according to an ESPN report. League executive and former Miami Dolphin Troy Vincent were reportedly most vexed by McNair’s comment, saying that in all his years of playing in the NFL, he’s been called every name in the book, including a n—-r, but never has he ever felt like an “inmate.”
On Friday morning, the Texans released a statement from McNair apologizing for the characterization, which he called just a “figure of speech.”
Statement from Texans Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert C. McNair: pic.twitter.com/EXdwKZ4y4x
— Texans PR (@TexansPR) October 27, 2017
McNair, a multi-million dollar Trump campaign donor, is among many NFL owners hard- pressed against players protesting during the anthem. Fellow team executive and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has also been an outspoken critic of recent anthem protests, threatening to bench players who dared to take a knee. The ESPN report described Jones’ anger with San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York for allowing former star quarterback Colin Kaepernick to kneel last year, setting off the league’s national anthem “crisis.”
Kaepernick began his protest to denounce racism and police brutality in America.
Despite his apology, McNair’s comment was enough to make several Texans players consider staging a walk out. About 10 players, including wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, left the practice facility Friday, a source told ESPN, but most of them later returned. The source said Hopkins’ absence from practice was directly related to McNair’s comment.