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- Houston Texans owner Bob McNair drew criticism for saying during a meeting over national anthem protests in the NFL, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison.” On Friday, ten Texans players reportedly walked out of practice in protest, while others were talked out leaving. The Texans reportedly plan to make a team gesture before their Week 8 game against the Seattle Seahawks in light of the comments.
Houston Texans players had to be talked out of staging a walkout on Friday after owner Bob McNair’s controversial comments, according to ESPN’s Sarah Barshop.
In a report from ESPN’s Seth Wickersham and Don Van Natta about the NFL’s meetings over national anthem protests, it was revealed that McNair, while stressing the need to end the protests said, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison.” Many in the sports world were critical of the use of the expression.
According to Barshop, ten players left the facilities but most returned. Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins did not return. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Hopkins’ absence was related to McNair’s comments while head coach Bill O’Brien called it a “personal day.”
According to Barshop, other players were talked out of walking out.
According to Wickersham and Van Natta’s report, McNair later apologized to NFL executive Troy Vincent, a former player who found the comment offensive, and said he didn’t mean to use the idiom literally.
On Friday, McNair released a statement apologizing for the use of the expression.
“I regret that I used that expression,” McNair said. “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.”
O’Brien told reporters on Friday that he is with his players “100 percent” after McNair’s comments.
Barshop reported that the Texans plan to do something as a team before their Week 8 game against the Seattle Seahawks, but did not yet decide on a gesture.