NFL owner forced to apologize after comparing players to ‘inmates’

Houston Texans owner Bob McNair expresses his regret after making provocative statement over player national anthem protests

Bob McNair, the Houston Texans owner, faced a growing backlash on Friday after saying we cant have the inmates running the prison in response to NFL players taking a knee during the United States national anthem. He later issued a public apology.

In a report on ESPN, McNairs provocative statement at a meeting last week between owners, team executives and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell stunned some in the room.

After the owners finished, Troy Vincent [the NFL executive vice-president of football operations] stood up, the article added. He was offended by McNairs characterization of the players as inmates. Vincent said that in all his years of playing in the NFL during which, he said, he had been called every name in the book, including the N-word he never felt like an inmate.

McNair reportedly apologized to Vincent later saying that he felt horrible and that his words werent meant to be taken literally.

In an official statement, McNair said: 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.

McNair reportedly donated $1m to Donald Trumps inaugural committee. The US president has been a vocal opponent of the NFL anthem protests.

Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins was an unexpected no-show at practice on Friday; head coach Bill OBrien declined to address whether it was related to McNairs controversial comments. Some Texans players considered staging a walkout, ESPN reported.

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