Sunday afternoon, many members of the Texans kneeled during the national anthem:
I saw 10 Texans standing for the national anthem. The rest were kneeling and holding hands.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) October 29, 2017
The crowd in Seattle reportedly cheered for the Texans players who protested during the anthem.
Head coach Bill O’Brien said after the game that he supports his players unconditionally.
OBrien said he backs players "100 percent" when they knelt before the game. Said he'll always stand by his players— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) October 29, 2017
Players weighed in after the game, too. Tackle Duane Brown said a meeting between the team and McNair on Friday “didn’t go too well,” according to Pro Football Talk.
Running back D’Onta Foreman explained why he left the team’s facility on Friday in response to McNair’s comments.
D'Onta Foreman said Bob McNair's comments upset him and his family, said he feels he had to stand up and make a point by leaving Friday— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) October 29, 2017
Deshaun Watson declined to comment.
Deshaun Watson on Bob McNair comments 'I'm going to pass on that'— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) October 30, 2017
McNair’s comment was made during the owners meetings in New York earlier in October when player demonstrations during the national anthem were discussed. At the meeting, he said that “We can't have the inmates running the prison.”
The comment was only revealed on Friday, after an ESPN The Magazine story detailed what the owners meeting looked like.
McNair apologized for his comment on Friday, saying, “I regret that I used that expression. 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.”
DeAndre Hopkins and D’Onta Foreman both missed practice on Friday because of the comment, and other Texans also considered walking out.
The players’ protest is one of a handful of demonstrations we’ve seen over the duration of the season. Colin Kaepernick was the first player to protest during the national anthem in the 2016 season as a way to bring attention to police brutality and injustices faced by people of color. President Donald Trump provoked a new wave of protests this September when he called for NFL owners to fire anyone who protested.
The protest was motivated by McNair’s comment. However, McNair’s comment stems from the issues of inequality and oppression against people of color that Kaepernick brought to the forefront last year.