In response to the controversial comments made by Houston Texans owner Bob McNair, most of the team's players took a knee and linked arms during the national anthem prior to their game against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. Around 10 players stood with their hand on their heart for the national anthem, according to the Houston Chronicle's Aaron Wilson.
Although they settled on taking a knee before Sunday's game, the Texans reportedly considered peeling the team logo off of their helmets, raising fists and staying in the locker room for the duration of the national anthem.
McNair's comment came during a meeting on October 18th in which he said, "We can't have the inmates running the prison" when discussing player demonstrations. McNair has apologized for the remark on two occasions – "I never meant to offend anyone and I was not referring to our players," McNair said in a statement on Friday – but it hasn't stopped the Texans from taking action. In addition to Sunday's group protest, Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins skipped practice on Friday because of McNair's comments. A number of his teammates considered staging a walkout before they were "persuaded to stay," according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
"I'm never going to force anyone to do anything they don't feel comfortable with," Texans left tackle Duane Brown said on Sunday. "I think we all felt the same way on Friday. As far as the demonstration went, some people didn't feel quite comfortable [kneeling] and some people did, but we all supported each other. That was what was important. I don't think that anyone looks at anyone differently for what they stood for or didn't stand for."
Jay-Z even spoke out about McNair's "inmates" comment during a concert over the weekend while on tour. Following a performance of 4:44 track "The Story of O.J.," the rapper expressed how "we got so much further to go" and how we all "come from one source."
Jay Z addressing McNair’s Inmates running the prison comment. pic.twitter.com/8x2vmeZmh4— Robert Littal (@BSO) October 28, 2017