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Texans Owner Bob McNair Regrets Apologizing for Calling NFL Players ‘Inmates’

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Texans owner Bob McNair said his “inmate” comment was just a “figure of speech.” (Photo by Eric Chastain Smith/AP)

Bob McNair, the owner of the Houston Texans, was embroiled in controversy last fall when he compared protesting NFL players to prisoners.

“We can’t have the inmates running the prison,” McNair said during a meeting with NFL players and executives over footballers kneeling during the national anthem.

He quickly issued an apology for the remarks, claiming the statement was “not referring to our players” and that he used a “figure of speech that was never intended to be taken literally.”

But while he said he regretted using the phrase, in a Thursday, April 5 profile for The Wall Street Journal, McNair now says his only regret is apologizing in the first place.

“The main thing I regret is apologizing,” McNair said, saying “inmates” referred to league executives who he felt had more say on significant decisions than the owners. “I really didn’t have anything to apologize for.”

The 80-year-old admits the NFL’s national anthem policy should change by disallowing players to kneel during the “Star-Spangled Banner” but he has also done work that some may say goes in direct opposition to that stance.

WSJ reported he paid for the funerals of victims of the 2015 Charleston, SC shooting, where a white nationalist opened fire on Black worshipers. He also donated $1 million for a memorial honoring the victims.

“I do what I think is right,” he said. “Sometimes, people disagree with you.”


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