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Houston Texans NFL Owner on Kneeling: ‘We Can’t Have the Inmates Running the Prison’

During a closed-door meeting among NFL team owners and executives, Houston Texans owner Bob McNair made a stunningly inappropriate analogy about allowing players to kneel during the national anthem. “We can’t have the inmates running the prison,” said McNair, a multimillion-dollar Trump campaign contributor, according to an ESPN report about the conference. NFL executive and former player Troy Vincent reportedly took the most offense to the comment, engaging in heated back-and-forth with McNair and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones—a hardliner against NFL players kneeling. McNair later apologized to Vincent, per ESPN, “saying that he felt horrible and that his words weren’t meant to be taken literally, which Vincent appreciated.” Additionally, the report observed how Jones and Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder were openly angry with San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York for allowing ex-quarterback Colin Kaepernick to kneel a year ago, kicking off the league’s national anthem “crisis.” On Friday morning, the Texans released a statement from McNair: “I regret that I used that expression. I never meant to offend anyone and I was not referring to our players,” he said. “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.”