Houston Texans Take a Knee as a Team During the National Anthem to Protest Owner Comments

“We can’t have the inmates running the prison.”

At a mid-October meeting of NFL team owners in New York, Houston Texans owner Bob McNair criticized player protests during the national anthem. “We can’t have the inmates running the prison,” he reportedly said

That did not go over well with his team at all, and they planned a protest. As the Texans-Seahawks match-up commenced Sunday afternoon in Seattle, the entire team—save six players—took a knee during a performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Though cameras were focused on the Texans, several members of the Seattle team remained seated during the anthem as well. 

This form of protest began with Colin Kaepernick last season. By all accounts it wasn’t intended to protest the anthem itself, but to call attention to racial inequality, especially in law enforcement. 

Sunday’s protest occurred despite Bob McNair’s effort to apologize to the team for his words. The New York Post reported McNair said he knew his team was upset and he “wanted to answer their questions.” 

McNair also said that if he had a chance to make the same statement again he “wouldn’t use that expression.” 

Social media reactions to the Texans’ statement was divided. Just two tweets represent the tone of most responses.


This form of player protest seemed to be waning, but it’s anyone’s guess as to whether the attention to the Texans’ gesture will inspire players on other teams to resume doing it as well.

And whether team owners will begin examining measures to deter them.