Houston Texans owner Bob McNair knows he could use some serious work on his analogies.
During a closed-door meeting between NFL owners, executives and league commissioner Roger Goodell, McNair said “we can’t have the inmates running the prison” in response to players taking a knee during the national anthem.
An ESPN report published Friday detailed last week’s conference in New York, saying McNair’s comment “stunned some in the room.”
NFL executive vice president of football operations and former player Troy Vincent reportedly took the most offense to the remark. He stood up and said that he had been called various slurs, including the N-word, during his 15-year playing career, but had never felt like an “inmate.”
McNair later spoke to Vincent privately and apologized, saying he didn’t intend his words to be taken literally, which Vincent reportedly accepted.
McNair, a multi-million dollar Trump campaign contributor, has also released a public apology.
“I regret that I used that expression,” McNair said in a statement on Friday. “I never meant to offend anyone and I was not referring to our players. I used a figure of speech that was never intended to be taken literally. I would never characterize our players or our league that way and I apologize to anyone who was offended by it.”
Bob McNair says his analogy wasn’t referring to players protesting the national anthem.
(Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Texans players, however, have not been so quick to accept McNair’s apology.
Texans offensive tackle Duane Brown told the Houston Chronicle that players considered a walkout Friday in response to the owner’s remark. Brown said players ultimately decided to practice but added that the team will reconvene to discuss the issue at a later time.
“It sickened me,” Brown said, per the Chronicle. “It’s horrible, it’s frustrating. … I’m not surprised by it.”
Houston wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins did not show up to practice in protest, according to ESPN.
Rookie cornerback Treston Decoud said he doesn’t think McNair’s comment is unpopular among team owners.
“I don’t believe he is the only owner that feel that way… smh,” Decoud tweeted.
Players kneel during the national anthem
McNair made his comment after Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones argued that owners must find a solution to solve the polarizing anthem issue, which he said is having a negative effect on business, per ESPN.
Jones, who has said he would bench anyone on his team who kneels during the anthem, reportedly seemed to be advocating for a mandate prohibiting demonstrations during the song. Goodell, however, has said he believes players “should” stand for the anthem, which is consistent with the league’s game gamual. Goodell recently said he would not institute a rule that players stand.
Washington owner Dan Snyder responded to Jones by saying he shared in his concerns, which is when McNair reportedly drew his “inmates” analogy.
The mandate proposal had the support of only nine owners, according to the report.
Jones and Snyder were also reportedly openly angry with 49ers CEO Jedd York for allowing former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick to kneel at the beginning of last season, which sparked the anthem controversy.
President Trump reignited the debate in September when he called on owners to release any “son of a b—h” who doesn’t stand during “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Trump has since continued his gripe against the NFL and its anthem protests.
Kaepernick, who remains a free agent, is expected to attend next week’s meeting between players and owners.