The chairman and chief executive of the Houston Texans has apologized after a report said he declared “we can’t have the inmates running the prison” during a meeting of NFL owners over what to do about players who kneel in protest during the national anthem, according to the Associated PRESS
In his statement released Friday, Bob McNair says he regretted using the expression and said he was “not referring to our players.”
“I used a figure of speech that was never intended to be taken literally,” McNair said. “I would never characterize our players or our league that way and I apologize to anyone who was offended by it.”
The comment was mentioned in an ESPN The Magazine story on two recent days of meetings among owners, players and others to discuss the protests that have drawn the ire of President Donald Trump. Players, following the lead of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, say they kneel to protest social injustices, particularly against African-Americans. Trump has sharply criticized the protests and even called on NFL owners to fire players.
The meetings earlier this month did not result in a policy change that would require players to stand for the anthem.
As you can tell as you can tell his statement didn’t go over well on social media:
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
A quote that will make you cringe from Texans owners Bob McNair, re: anthem protests: “We can't have the inmates running the prison.”— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) October 27, 2017
Thank you, Houston Texans owner Bob McNair, for accidentally framing the NFL kneeling controversy in accurate terms: racist white guys don't think black employees should have rights because they're black.— Palmer Report (@PalmerReport) October 27, 2017
They may not be prison inmates, but Bob McNair and owners like him see their rights to control players as essentially the same thing.— Cian Fahey (@Cianaf) October 27, 2017
The Associated Press contributed to this report.