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'Inmates' crack infuriates Texans

Published Oct. 27, 2017

Texans owner Bob McNair apologized Friday for remarks he made last week about "inmates running the prison" if NFL owners allowed players to continue to sit or kneel during the national anthem, but the apology appears to have done little to appease his own players.

McNair made the comment among 11 owners and a dozen players, many of them African-Americans who have demonstrated during the anthem to highlight a lack of attention to racial oppression. The sides were seeking common ground on the issue at a meeting at the league's headquarters in Manhattan.

When discussion turned to whether the league ought to clamp down on the protests, McNair suggested it should because "we can't have the inmates running the prison."

"I never meant to offend anyone, and I was not referring to our players," McNair said in a statement Friday. "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."

Some Texans players, though, were having a hard time accepting McNair's apology. They considered walking out of practice Friday, and receiver DeAndre Hopkins did not attend, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Texans offensive tackle Duane Brown called McNair's comments "disrespectful," "ignorant," and "embarrassing."

"I think it angered a lot of players, including myself," he told the Chronicle. "To use an analogy of inmates in a prison, I would say they're disrespectful."

Coach Bill O'Brien and general manager Rick Smith held a 90-minute meeting with players later Friday, ESPN reported.

Players on other teams took notice, particularly Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, who faces the Texans on Sunday.

On Twitter, Sherman said mockingly that McNair did not need to apologize. "You meant what you said," he wrote. "Showing true colors allows ppl to see you for who you are."

Kuechly ready to go

Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly cleared the concussion protocol, the team announced, and is expected to play Sunday at Tampa Bay.

Kuechly was cleared by an independent neuroconsultant as the final step in the league's protocol. He was a full participant in practice this week.

Pro Bowl center Ryan Kalil is out after aggravating a neck injury last week at Chicago.

RAVENS IRATE: Ravens players are angry and calling for a review of the rule book after watching Joe Flacco being helped off the field following a late hit. The quarterback sustained a concussion Thursday when Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso crushed him after he went into a slide. "He was sliding, and the guy came in high. They're trying to take that play out, but it happens," safety Eric Weddle said. "Maybe they'll look at it in the offseason, and in that situation, the guy should get ejected." Alonso insisted the hit to the head was unintentional.

JAGS BEEF UP D-LINE: The Jaguars acquired Bills nose tackle Marcell Dareus for a sixth-round pick in the 2018 draft.

FINES: Jets linebacker Darron Lee was fined $36,464 by the league for roughing the passer and another $9,115 for a facemask call. Jets receiver Robby Anderson was fined $12,154 for tossing his helmet. Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict was fined $12,154 for kicking at Steelers fullback Roosevelt Nix.

BILLS: The team will be without cornerback E.J. Gaines Sunday because of a hamstring injury.

DOLPHINS: Quarterback Jay Cutler, who sat out Thursday with cracked ribs, will start the next game, coach Adam Gase said.

LIONS: Top receiver Golden Tate is listed as questionable for Sunday because of a shoulder injury.