After hearing owner Bob McNair’s comments, Houston Texans players led by DeAndre Hopkins have responded.
With the release of ESPN’s behind the scenes look at the meeting between NFL players and owners last week, Houston Texans owner Bob McNair’s comments about having the “inmates run the prison” have come to light. McNair has already apologized, as expected, but the players on his own team have taken some action.
Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins was absent from Friday’s practice, at least the portion open to the media, which head coach Bill O’Brien described as taking a personal day. O’Brien would not say if Hopkins’ absence was related to McNair’s comments, but it was easy to draw the connection without too big of an assumption.
O’Brien did add that Hopkins will play Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks, with the caveat “if something changes, we’ll let you know.” But there’s now no doubt why Hopkins was away from the team on Friday, and he was almost not the only one.
Left tackle Duane Brown, who only recently returned to the team from a contract holdout, added his two cents.
Brown’s hint that the situation is not over, and Texans’ player will reconvene, is further backed up by ESPN Texans’ reporter Sarah Barshop.
So it looks like the Texans will stage some sort of protest before kickoff of Sunday’s game in Seattle. That may include mass kneeling and linking arms, staying in the locker room or staying in the tunnel during the national anthem. Or it could be something we haven’t seen yet in a pregame protest, perhaps with some sort of more aggressive outward display to protest McNair’s words more specifically.
There seemed to be some sort of progress made last week, at least in terms of all sides getting to hear all perspectives regarding player protests and social causes. But McNair’s unfortunately worded comments have set that back, and NFL players will surely continue to use pregame as a misplaced platform for protest.