Pre-game protests have become part of the Seahawks routine, but it’s new territory for the Houston Texans, who have avoided the controversy — until Sunday at the Clink. Provoked by owner Bob McNair’s comments at a meeting that “wecan’t have inmates running the prison,” the Texans staged their first protest over social injustice, and it was large.
Only 10 players stood, the rest taking a knee prior to the anthem before kickoff.
A group of Seahawks active in previous games protested again by sitting on the bench. In protest were Oday Aboushi, Justin Britt, Michael Bennett, Sheldon Richardson, Branden Jackson, Cliff Avril, Jarran Reed, Marcus Smith, Frank Clark, Quinton Jefferson and Nazair Jones. Newcomer Dwight Freeney stood along the sidelines.
ESPN reported that the Texans held a players meeting Saturday at their Seattle hotel after McNair twice apologized for his comment that was reported Friday in an ESPN The Magazine story about an Oct. 17 owners meeting in New York following a session the previous day with about a dozen player representatives.
Seahawks CB Richard Sherman said Friday he was grateful McNair was outed by the story “when people like that show who they are,” while praising Seahawks owner Paul Allen. Seahawks management has been generally supportive of the players’ right to speak up.
McNair apologized Friday and again Saturday after meeting with players, saying: “I am truly sorry to the players for how this has impacted them and the perception that it has created of me, which could not be further from the truth.”
Players considered a walkout of the Friday practice, and WR DeAndre Hopkins and RB D’Onta Freeman did not participate because of McNair’s remarks.