ESPN released an article Friday morning about the recent meeting between NFL owners and players regarding the anthem protests. In the article, Texans’ Owner Bob McNair was quoted as saying, “We can’t have the inmates run the prison.” And after the initial shock wore off, I thought even though he wasn’t speaking on behalf of all the owners present that the meeting, he was probably echoing the sentiments of most owners in the league. And I shifted my focus to the players on his team and wonder how they would respond to their owner’s comments.
In the 48 hours following the comments, it was reported that WR DeAndre Hopkins did not report to practice on Friday in response to the comments, which I don’t blame him because how could expect players to continue business as usual after their owner expresses his displeasure with players taking a stand against President Trump. Head Coach Bill O’Brien had two meetings Friday and Saturday with players to discuss the comments and give players a platform to express their feelings about the comments, and I applaud O’Brien for meeting with just his players and giving them an outlet for their anger at the owner.
So how would the players respond? Could they boycott the game (not likely there most likely legal ramifications and they wouldn’t want to jeopardize their season just because their owner is an idiot). I won’t blame the players for taking the most dramatic response and forfeiting the game because it would show that without the players (the inmates) there wouldn’t be a need for the organization (prison). But instead the team chose to use the National Anthem and knelt, with some choosing to stand but in line and touching their teammates. And I think that this was the only way they could’ve responded. The Texans have chosen to not protest the past few weeks out of respect for their owner, but after hearing that their owner didn’t respect them they were free to kneel.
But now what happens? Well for the Texans as a whole it’s probably going to be rough the rest of the season. McNair has a lot of ground to make up with his team and honestly I’m not sure if his players will ever forgive him, they might forget it or push it into the back of their mind but they will never forget. In the back of their minds they will always have a little voice that says “McNair doesn’t careabout you, he only cares about the bottom line.”
And I believe these comments will have an impact on the league as a whole. Like stated earlier in this post that while McNair wasn’t directly speaking on behave of all of the owners, it’s likely that the owners agreed with his statement which gives the Kaepernick collusion case a little credence. It shows that it’s possible that the owners shared feelings of wanting to avoid the media kerfuffle that came along with signing Kaepernick. Because you have to remember, the league is ultimately a business that needs to make money and as seen in the recent NFL ratings and ticket sales, the league isn’t making a lot of money these days. So owners will do anything to make sure their fans stay happy and coming to games or tuning in on the TV.
Here’s hoping that we can go at least two weeks without another news dominating PR disaster in the NFL.