Majority of Texans players kneel during anthem

SEATTLE — During the national anthem before Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks, the majority of Houston Texans players kneeled and linked arms. Approximately 10 players stood.

Several members of the Seahawks’ defensive line again sat on the bench during the anthem. Taking a seat were Michael Bennett, Sheldon Richardson, Cliff Avril, Jarran Reed, Frank Clark, Quinton Jefferson, Marcus Smith, Branden Jackson and Nazair Jones. Another defensive lineman, Dion Jordan, stood next to those players along with offensive linemen Justin Britt and Oday Aboushi. Linebacker Michael Wilhoite again took a knee.

Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and rookie running back D’Onta Foreman missed Friday’s practice after Texans owner Bob McNair compared NFL players to “inmates” during the Oct. 18 meeting where owners talked about business concerns related to the anthem protests. McNair’s comments were reported in an ESPN The Magazine story on Friday morning.

McNair issued an apology Friday morning and further clarified his comments on Saturday, saying, “I was not referring to our players when I made a very regretful comment during the owners meetings last week.”

“I was referring to the relationship between the league office and team owners and how they have been making significant strategic decisions affecting our league without adequate input from ownership over the past few years,” McNair said. “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. Our focus going forward, personally and as an organization, will be towards making meaningful progress regarding the social issues that mean so much to our players and our community.”

On Friday, veteran Duane Brown spoke out against McNair’s comments, saying he thought it was “disrespectful.” The Texans added Brown to the active roster on Saturday after his season-long holdout and he took the field for the first time on Sunday.

“I think it was ignorant,” Brown said. “I think it was embarrassing. I think it angered a lot of players, including myself. We put our bodies and minds on the line every time we step on that field, and to use an analogy of inmates in prison, that’s disrespectful. That’s how I feel about it.”

Before the Texans’ Week 3 game in New England in 2016, an injured Brown raised his fist during the national anthem, and expressed displeasure at the lack of support he received from the organization.

ESPN’s Brady Henderson contributed to this report.

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