Team owner Bob McNair met with Texans players Saturday morning and expressed regret for his “inmates running the prison” comment, according to multiple reports.
“I know they were upset,” McNair told the Houston Chronicle. “I wanted to answer their questions. I told them if I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t use that expression.”
A Texans offensive starter told ESPN’s Josina Anderson that the team will meet Saturday night “to discuss a demonstration tomorrow.” The player also said he expects everyone on the team to travel Saturday to Seattle.
McNair issued a public apology Friday following an ESPN The Magazine report that McNair said, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison,” during last week’s owners meeting, in reference to ongoing player demonstrations during the national anthem.
“I let them know that No. 1, the last thing I want to be is a distraction to the team,” McNair told Fox 26 on Saturday. “If any of the players were offended by what was reported, I’m sorry about that, and I apologized to them for that. We need to just work together going forward.”
Some Texans players considered staging a walkout following McNair’s comment, a source told ESPN.
About 10 players, including Pro Bowl wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, left the facility Friday, the source said.
Sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Hopkins’ absence from practice was directly related to McNair’s comment. Running back D’Onta Foreman also did not practice over the quote, sources told ESPN’s Sarah Barshop.
Most of the players who left returned to the facility, the source said, and the remaining players were talked out of their protest by the coaching staff.
“When it happened, there’s a thousand emotions going through your mind,” left tackle Duane Brown said Friday. “Obviously, one of the emotions is to leave the building immediately. [But] we decided to go to work. The situation’s not over. It’s something that we’ll reconvene and talk about again, but we had practice today.”
Texans coach Bill O’Brien said Hopkins had taken a “personal day.”
O’Brien said Friday he expected Hopkins to be on the team plane to fly to Seattle on Saturday and that the wide receiver will play Sunday against the Seahawks.
Information from ESPN Texans reporter Sarah Barshop was used in this report.