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Texans Owner Bob McNair On Anthem Protests: 'We Can't Have Inmates Running The Prison'

Houston Texans owner Bob McNair is going to want this quote about NFL players' national anthem protests back.

10 days ago, NFL owners and executives met to discuss the league's mounting protests, and the potential to mandate that players stand for the national anthem.

During the meeting, a group of owners consisting of the Cowboys' Jerry Jones, Washington's Daniel Snyder, and the Texans' McNair were among the most vocal in support of making players stand during the playing of the national anthem before games.

According to a long report in the upcoming edition of ESPN The Magazine, Jones might have been the most blustery figure during the meeting, but McNair had the quote that turned heads, and continues to do so now that it has made its way to the internet.

As Jones spoke, Snyder mumbled out loud, "See, Jones gets it -- 96 percent of Americans are for guys standing," a claim some dismissed as a grand overstatement. McNair, a multimillion-dollar Trump campaign contributor, spoke next, echoing many of the same business concerns. "We can't have the inmates running the prison," McNair said.

Former Philadelphia Eagles great Troy Vincent, now an executive vice president of football operations for the league, spoke up about McNair's statement, and ultimately, the Texans owner apologized.

After the owners finished, Troy Vincent stood up. He was offended by McNair's characterization of the players as "inmates." Vincent said that in all his years of playing in the NFL -- during which, he said, he had been called every name in the book, including the N-word -- he never felt like an "inmate."


McNair later pulled Vincent aside and apologized, saying that he felt horrible and that his words weren't meant to be taken literally, which Vincent appreciated.

Reaction to McNair's statement has made the predictable waves on Twitter this morning, in the wake of the piece by Seth Wickersham and Don Van Natta Jr.

Yes, McNair's quote was a turn of phrase, but it is hard to think of a worse one to use when discussing a debate that is largely centered on police brutality and abuses of power against minorities in the United States. It's truly a horrible look for McNair, given how raw the feelings around the league continue to be. Update: McNair has issued a public apology for his statement.

We'll continue to update as there is more reaction to this story.

[ESPN The Magazine]