Texans owner Bob McNair regrets apologizing for controversial inmates comment

McNair's original comments were largely met with derision amongst the Texans' players, and around the league. Many maintain skepticism that his "inmates" comments were related to the NFL front offices, and not the players, as he states in the Wall Street Journal profile.

Kahron Spearman

Houston Texans owner Bob McNair told the Wall Street Journal in a profile that he regrets apologizing for saying, "we can't have inmates running the prison," referencing players' police-related protests during the national anthem. 


In October, ESPN relayed comments made by McNair during an owners meeting, which saw two Texans players subsequently leave practice, and later the then-Texans offensive lineman, Duane Brown, (who was almost immediately traded) spoke out against McNair.


McNair released the following statement at the time, "I regret that I used that expression. I never meant to offend anyone, and I was not referring to our players. I used a figure of speech that was never intended to be taken literally. I would never characterize our players or our league that way, and I apologize to anyone who was offended by it."


Interestingly, McNair told WSJ that the "inmates" he referred to were the NFL executives with more control than the owners and not players. 

"We were talking about a number of things, but we were also washing some of our dirty linen, which you do internally," he continued. "You can't do that publicly. That's what I was addressing: The relationship of owners and the league office."


Following the airing of McNair's original comments, most of the Texans team took a knee in definace during the national anthem ahead of their road game versus the Seattle Seahawks.


At the time, Brown said that McNair's comments were "disrespectful."


"I think it was ignorant," Brown continued. "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."

The main thing I regret is apologizing. I really didn't have anything to apologize for.