Houston Texans owner Bob McNair regrets apology for ‘inmates’ comment


Houston Texans owner Bob McNair told the Wall Street Journal that he regrets apologizing for saying, “we can’t have inmates running the prison,” in reference to player demonstrations and protests during the national anthem.

Last October, after ESPN reported the comments made by McNair during an owners meeting, two players left practice and then-Texans player Duane Brown spoke out harshly about McNair.

Shortly after, McNair released a statement saying, “I regret that I used that expression. 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.”

On Thursday, McNair told the Journal that the inmates he was referring to were not players, but NFL executives with more control than the owners.

“The main thing I regret is apologizing. … I really didn’t have anything to apologize for,” McNair said.

“We were talking about a number of things, but we were also washing some of our dirty linen, which you do internally. You can’t do that publicly. That’s what I was addressing: The relationship of owners and the league office.”

The Sunday after McNair’s comments were reported, the majority of Texans players took a knee during the national anthem before their road game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Brown, who raised his fist before a 2016 game, was outspoken about McNair’s October comments, calling them “disrespectful.”

“I think it was ignorant,” Brown said at the time. “I think it was embarrassing. I think it angered a lot of players, including myself. 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.”

Brown was traded to the Seahawks the day after the game in Seattle.

McNair told the newspaper that when he met with the Texans later that week to try to “tell them the truth,” Brown was trying to be a “troublemaker” in the locker room.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first took a knee during the national anthem in August 2016 to protest police brutality and systemic oppression. Kaepernick has filed a grievance against the NFL, saying teams have colluded to keep him out of the league due to his protests. Last month, McNair was deposed in the grievance.

McNair told the Journal that there is no truth to the Houston Chronicle report that the Texans would not sign a player who has participated in the protests, saying Houston would “sign any player that can help our team.”

He also said the Texans coaching staff looked at Kaepernick in 2017, but the coaches “didn’t like the way he threw the ball.”

Source : ESPN