Houston Texans Kneel En Masse After Owner’s ‘Inmate’ Comments

Nearly the entire team kneeled during the national anthem during Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks

Houston Texans kneel Bob McNair

The majority of the Houston Texans kneeled during the national anthem on Sunday following comments about the protests from the team owner’s Bob McNair, in which he compared NFL players to “inmates.”

Approximately ten players remained standing during the anthem, while the rest kneeled. On the Seahawks sideline, several players also kneeled or sat on the bench during the anthem, including most of the team’s defensive line.

McNair’s comments were made during the league’s owner meetings on Oct. 18, where the business impact of the protests was discussed. According to a report from ESPN, McNair said that the league couldn’t “allow inmates to run the prison.”

McNair apologized on Friday and clarified his comments on Saturday saying, “I was not referring to our players when I made a very regretful comment during the owners meetings last week.”

“I was referring to the relationship between the league office and team owners and how they have been making significant strategic decisions affecting our league without adequate input from ownership over the past few years,” McNair said. “I am truly sorry to the players for how this has impacted them and the perception that it has created of me which could not be further from the truth. Our focus going forward, personally and as an organization, will be towards making meaningful progress regarding the social issues that mean so much to our players and our community.”

But the comments still angered many members of the team, including star receiver DeAndre Hopkins and rookie D’Onta Foreman, who skipped Friday’s practice. In an interview, offensive lineman Duane Brown called McNair’s comments “ignorant” and “embarrassing.”

“I think it was embarrassing. I think it angered a lot of players, including myself,” Brown said. “We put our bodies and minds on the line every time we step on that field, and to use an analogy of inmates in prison, that’s disrespectful. That’s how I feel about it.”