The Texans are becoming the face of the anti-kneeling portion of the NFL.
The Houston Chronicle spoke to two agents who said the team would not consider signing players who were seen kneeling during the national anthem. The report states that it’s not a directive from within the organization, but there is an understanding of which players Houston should pursue in free agency.
It’s not Texans owner Bob McNair’s first foray into this controversy. McNair, according to ESPN, said in a league meeting last season that the league was letting “inmates running the prison.” Texans star receiver DeAndre Hopkins skipped a practice after the reports became public in late October and many other players considered walking out.
McNair apologized to the team, arguing the “inmates” comment was not referencing players, though the Chronicle reports few on the team believed him. Texans players knelt and/or linked arms before their next game.
The Chronicle’s Jerome Solomon writes:
Yet, the Texans’ owner has been racially tone deaf often enough that many believe race is a significant factor in how the team runs its business.
There are many who believe if McNair could field a team with all-white, all-conforming all-pro talent, he would.
Colin Kaepernick currently has a collusion grievance against the NFL and McNair is one of the many NFL bigwigs who were deposed by the free agent quarterback’s lawyers. Kaepernick started the kneeling movement during the 2016 preseason to protest the treatment of African Americans by law enforcement.
That movement grew when President Trump called in September for any player who kneeled to be released by his team.
“Get that son of a bitch off the field,” Trump said at a rally.
After that, many other players kneeled or protested in other ways.