Houston Players Kneel in Protest to Owners Comment

Houston Texans players kneel before Seahawks game.

Houston Texans players kneel before Seahawks game.

By MCNS Staff

As the NFL protests and boycott gain momentum, more controversial incidents fuel player demonstrations.

In the wake of racist comments made by Houston Texans owner Bob McNair, nearly all of the team players knelt during the national anthem before their game against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. The players were widely expected to engage in some form of demonstration going into the game.

CBS did not broadcast the anthem at 4 pm Eastern Time, instead showing a golf event. Pictures and video surfacing on news and social media show around 40 of the 50+ member team kneeling in lines with arms linked, with only a few players standing behind them.

McNair caused a furor among players and across the country when it was revealed in an ESPN story that he said, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison” when referring to players.

McNair apologized to the team for the comment, but suggested that instead of describing players, he was analogizing the relationship of team owners to the league and Commissioner Roger Goodell. Many players weren’t convinced of McNair’s remorse, since there are no organized NFL owner protests happening, and discussed a response. Reports indicate that DeAndre Hopkins and D’Onta Foreman walked out of the team’s practice on Friday after hearing about the remarks.

“I think it was ignorant,” Texans’ offensive lineman Duane Brown told reporters. “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.”

Across the field, several members of the Seattle Seahawks sat on the bench during the anthem, including Michael Bennett, Sheldon Richardson and Cliff Avril. Linebacker Michael Wilhoite again took a knee.

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