Sports | October 30, 2017 8:51 am

Majority of Houston Texans Players Kneel After Owner Bob McNair’s Comment

More than 30 team members took a knee before Sunday's game.

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SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 29: Members of the Houston Texans stand and kneel before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on October 29, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. During a meeting of NFL owners earlier in October, Houston Texans owner Bob McNair said "we can't have the inmates running the prison", referring to player demonstrations during the national anthem. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

More than 30 members of the Houston Texans kneeled or sat during the anthem before Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks in protest of owner Bob McNair’s comment that “we can’t have the inmates running the prison,” reports USA Today

Seven Seahawks players — five in uniform and two inactive players — also sat during the anthem. This continues the protest Michael Bennett started earlier this year.

Texans left tackle Duane Brown said that it was “a lot of emotions” and that the team felt a “huge sense of unity.” According to USA Today, he said, “Just coming out and playing for each other, forgetting everything else. Once kickoff started, we tried to block out any other distractions.”

The players had responded negatively towards McNair’s “inmate” comments that were reported in an ESPN story that detailed what happened during league meetings in New York City last week. McNair said the comment during an owners-only session, USA Today reports. He issued two public apologies via statements distributed by the Texans. In the first statement, he regretted using the word “inmates” and said he never intended it to refer to his players, reports USA Today. Then on Saturday, he tried again to clarify his comments, saying he was referring to the relationship between the league office and team owners and how they have been “how they have been making significant decisions affecting our league without adequate input from ownership.”

But McNair did not meet with Texan players until Saturday after players skipped practice. Brown told reporters that players had considered a mass walkout.

“When the comments first came out, it was like, this is serious. How far are they going to take it? To see them what they did today, I wasn’t surprised,” Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin said to USA Today Sports. “I’m 100 percent backing them. I’m supportive of what they did, the decision that they made because those were egregious comments, and the lackluster apology is just hard to deal with.”

Sunday was the first time this year that any Texans players have protested during the anthem, besides when the team stood with linked arms during Week 3. When the anthem began, Texans players looked at each other and then a majority knelt in union. Many links arms or held hands. Ten players chose to stand, but some did so with a hand on a teammate’s shoulder.