Twitter is up in arms this morning about an ESPN story that quotes Houston Texans owner Bob McNair saying, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison,” referring to a growing slew of NFL players protesting the national anthem.
“That statement stunned some in the room,” Seth Wickersham and Don Van Natta Jr. wrote in this ESPN The Magazine story, which chronicles a recent closed-door meeting of National Football League team owners.
McNair (pictured above with wife Janice) made the remark as Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones spoke about the importance of all players standing and saluting the flag during the pre-game “Star-Spangled Banner.”
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“After the owners finished, [former NFL cornerback and current league executive] Troy Vincent stood up,” their piece continued. “He was offended by McNair’s characterization of the players as ‘inmates.’ Vincent said that in all his years of playing in the NFL — during which, he said, he had been called every name in the book, including the N-word — he never felt like an ‘inmate.'”
“McNair later pulled Vincent aside and apologized, saying that he felt horrible and that his words weren’t meant to be taken literally, which Vincent appreciated,” the duo wrote.
Either way, Twitter didn’t buy McNair’s mea culpa. Read some choice reactions to the misplaced colloquialism below.
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A quote that will make you cringe from Texans owners Bob McNair, re: anthem protests: “We can't have the inmates running the prison.”
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) October 27, 2017
Bob McNair isn't alone I bet you at least 3/4 of @NFL owners think of their players as "inmates." Sadly, many fans & media also agree.
— NotSO_contrarian (@Da_contrarian) October 27, 2017
When Bob McNair and Jerry Jones see each other at the owners meetings pic.twitter.com/tVxPYcfVPD
— ➖ (@_illionaire) October 27, 2017
What Bob McNair really meant: pic.twitter.com/EHmoYt4M8s
— Stoop Kid (@_MyDMsBroke) October 27, 2017
Nahhh Bob McNair didn’t say that…nah y’all tripping. He couldn’t have. Nope he didn’t. Did that wake some of y’all up now?
— Billy (@snacks) October 27, 2017
Bob McNair needs to realize the millions of dollars he is making is because of these "inmates".
If I was a Texan I would sit out on Sunday. pic.twitter.com/amSQFwZXog
— Ted Corcoran (RedTRaccoon) (@RedTRaccoon) October 27, 2017
Oh look @HoustonTexans owner Bob McNair compared players on his team to “inmates.”
Just peachy! https://t.co/3RVAR2ppRW
— Erick Fernandez (@ErickFernandez) October 27, 2017