Houston Texans owner Bob McNair made it clear during a meeting with NFL owners that he is not a fan of players kneeling during the national anthem.
ESPN reported Friday morning that McNair had spoken out during a recent NFL owners meeting about the protests, and compared the players to inmates running a prison.
The sports network reported in part:
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.
That statement stunned some in the room. Then Kraft, who is close friends with Trump, politely rebuked the hardliners, saying that he supported the league’s marketing proposal and predicted the issue would work itself out over time.
It doesn’t get much more straightforward than that. There’s nothing in the statement left open to interpretation. McNair is clearly not happy, and it’s not hard to blame him. NFL ratings continue to slide, and there doesn’t appear to be any end in sight.
Players have been kneeling for the national anthem for over a year now. Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started this trend during the 2016 NFL season, and it has continued to flow into this season.
President Trump has been in an open war with the NFL for not forcing its players to stand, which they haven’t yet. However, it looks like behind closed doors more owners might agree with the president.