UPDATE (2:43 p.m. ET): Bob McNair has released a new statement on his controversial comments. The Houston Texans owner doubled down on his claim that he was not referring to NFL players.
ORIGINAL STORY: Bob McNair can’t take back what he said, but he can try to explain it.
And that’s what the Houston Texans owner reportedly did Saturday morning.
In an ESPN The Magazine story published Friday, McNair — while speaking about the NFL anthem protests — is quoted as saying the league can’t afford to let the “inmates run the prison.” He’s since apologized and denied he was talking about players, but that did little to quell the outrage.
With controversy circling around the Texans ahead of their Week 8 matchup with the Seattle Seahawks, McNair met with players Saturday morning, where he fielded questions and expressed regret for the comments, according to the Houston Chronicle’s John McClain. Here’s an excerpt from that meeting:
Many have questioned whether Texans players would boycott Sunday’s game, but that reportedly won’t be the case.
Listen, is there any excuse for what McNair said? Absolutely not, no matter which way you slice it.
But the possibility remains that he simply misspoke, and was trying to make a point about the power structure in the NFL, rather than making an overtly racist comment. Neither paints a particularly pretty picture, but the latter definitely is worse than the former.
Only McNair knows the truth, and it’s up to him to own up to it.
Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images