“We can’t have the inmates running the prison,” McNair said in a conversation during an NFL owners meeting earlier this month about if players should be allowed to kneel during the national anthem to protest inequality. McNair apologized for the comments in a statement released Friday morning.
Statement from Texans Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert C. McNair: pic.twitter.com/EXdwKZ4y4x— Texans PR (@TexansPR) October 27, 2017
Texans star receiver DeAndre Hopkins, whom Houston signed to a five-year, $81 million deal in August, didn’t show up to practice Friday. Head coach Bill O’Brien described it as “a personal day,” but, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Hopkins’s absence was due to McNair’s comments. The Texans who did show up to practice met and nearly walked out of the building en masse before deciding against it. Players were allowed to speak during a 90-minute meeting led by O’Brien, assistant head coach Romeo Crennel, and general manager Rick Smith. Schefter called the situation an “organizational crisis” on ESPN.
Texans players wanted to walkout today in response to owner Bob McNair’s comments, per @sarahbarshop. Had to be persuaded to stay.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 27, 2017
Texans offensive tackle Duane Brown called McNair’s comments “disrespectful and ignorant” and “horrible,” saying that they “sickened [him],” but that he was “not surprised by it,” according to a series of tweets from Houston Chronicle reporter Aaron Wilson. Brown added that while the team decided to practice Friday, the players will meet again soon and evaluate the situation further.
O'Brien on Mr. McNair statement: "It's been addressed. I'm 100 percent with these players."— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) October 27, 2017
This week the Texans are preparing to take on the Seattle Seahawks who, along with the San Francisco 49ers, are among the most outspoken teams in the league on social issues. Multiple Seahawks appeared to criticize McNair on Friday morning, including cornerback Richard Sherman.
I can appreciate ppl being candid. Don’t apologize! You meant what you said. Showing true colors allows ppl to see you for who you are.— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) October 27, 2017
I wish more ppl would do that. So the world could ostracize those who don’t want to see EQUALITY. Otherwise they will continue to hide— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) October 27, 2017
Say how you really feel huh!?!— Cliff Avril (@cliffavril) October 27, 2017
People sayin’ how they really feel— Bobby Wagner (@Bwagz54) October 27, 2017
Linebacker Bobby Wagner’s tweet elicited a retweet from Houston receiver Deanté Gray. Other Texans players also took to social media after the comments were made.
✊— Stephen Anderson (@S_Anderson89) October 27, 2017
I don’t believe he is the only owner that feel that way... smh— Treston Decoud (@_TD31) October 27, 2017
Criticism didn’t come from only NFL players. Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green called the comments “Donald Sterling-esque” in an Instagram post, referring to the disgraced former Los Angeles Clippers owner, and at practice he spoke to the media about McNair’s comments.
As of Friday afternoon, Schefter reported, all Texans players were expected travel with the team to Seattle on Saturday.