In a meeting between NFL owners, team executives and commissioner Roger Goodell, Houston Texans owner Bob McNair said, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison,” in response to NFL players choosing to kneel in protest during the national anthem.
ESPN’s Seth Wickersham and Don Van Natta Jr. published a story on Friday detailing the protest meetings this month, and it noted that McNair’s commentary “stunned” some attendees in the room.
According to the article, McNair’s comments were made on Oct. 18, just one day after the owners and players met to discuss social reform.
McNair issued an apology on Friday morning via the Texans’ official public relations account on Twitter, but players around the NFL, including several Seattle Seahawks players, weren’t so quick to forgive.
Statement from Texans Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert C. McNair: pic.twitter.com/EXdwKZ4y4x— Texans PR (@TexansPR) October 27, 2017
Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner and defensive end Cliff Avril vented their frustrations over McNair’s comments on Twitter.
People sayin’ how they really feel— Bobby Wagner (@Bwagz54) October 27, 2017
Say how you really feel huh!?!— Cliff Avril (@cliffavril) October 27, 2017
Wagner’s tweet was shared by outspoken cornerback Richard Sherman, who then shared his own thoughts on the matter in a flurry of posts.
Sherman criticized McNair’s apology, saying, “You meant what you said,” and adding that he wished more people would reveal their true colors.
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
Rookie defensive tackle Nazair Jones simply responded to news of McNair’s statement with a thinking-face emoji.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, several Texans players have considered walking out in response to McNair’s statement and had to be persuaded to stay.
McNair’s comments come at an interesting time. The Texans play the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on Sunday.
Several Seahawks players, including defensive lineman Michael Bennett, Frank Clark, Cliff Avril, Marcus Smith, Quinton Jefferson, Sheldon Richardson, Jarran Reed and Branden Jackson, as well as linebacker Michael Wilhoite, have sat or took a knee during the national anthem before a game this season.