Most Texans kneel during national anthem to protest owner's 'inmate' comments

The Houston Texans, incensed by owner Bob McNair’s poorly worded description of players as “inmates,” staged a mass protest during the national anthem prior to Houston’s game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Virtually all Texans knelt for the anthem, locking arms or holding hands on the sideline. National media in attendance put the number of players standing at about 10.

At the NFL owners’ meetings last week, McNair had expressed frustration with the way that the protest had affected the NFL’s business, and said, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison.” He apologized on at least two occasions for that unfortunate turn of phrase, but players were not convinced. Receiver DeAndre Hopkins left the Texans’ facility on Friday after learning of the comments.

Houston Texans players kneel and stand during the singing of the national anthem Sunday. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

The Texans had discussed several options for protest prior to Sunday’s game, including kneeling, sitting, remaining in the locker room during the anthem or peeling the Texans’ logo off their helmets. Clearly, the protest was large, one of the most significant by any single team to date, but not unanimous.

Across the field, several Seahawks players continued to sit for the anthem, as they have done all season:


This marked the first time any Texans players had protested during the anthem. Offensive tackle Duane Brown had raised a fist last season, the only demonstration the Texans had shown since protests began in the 2016 preseason.

On Friday, Brown called McNair’s comments “embarrassing, ignorant and frustrating.”

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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.

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