This morning, ESPN published a story by Seth Wickersham and Don Van Natta, Jr. in which they reported what went down at the much ballyhooed league meeting between owners and players last week. In that story, Houston Texans owner Bob McNair is quoted as saying the following on the second day of those meetings (when players were not present):
"We can't have the inmates running the prison," McNair said.
As you can imagine, for a number of reasons, that turn of phrase has not registered well in the court of public opinion today. McNair is trending on Twitter, and it’s not because people are really excited about Sunday’s Texans-Seahawks game. McNair issued the following statement in response to the story:
Statement from Texans Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert C. McNair: pic.twitter.com/EXdwKZ4y4x— Texans PR (@TexansPR) October 27, 2017
In other Texans news, DeAndre Hopkins was not at practice today.
I did not see DeAndre Hopkins on the field in the portion of practice open to the media.— Sarah Barshop (@sarahbarshop) October 27, 2017
He was not on the injury report this week.— Sarah Barshop (@sarahbarshop) October 27, 2017
Was Nuk’s absence due to McNair’s comments? I don’t know, and neither do you, though a player taking a personal day like this seems rather unusual.
Bill O'Brien on DeAndre Hopkins not being at practice: 'He's fine. He took a personal day today.'— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) October 27, 2017
Bill O'Brien said DeAndre Hopkins took a personal day today. He left the building.— Sarah Barshop (@sarahbarshop) October 27, 2017
Bill O'Brien on DeAndre Hopkins: 'I would tell you he'll be here. If something changes, we'll let you know.'— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) October 27, 2017
For his part, Bill O’Brien publicly backed his team.
Bill O'Brien says he stands with his players.— Sarah Barshop (@sarahbarshop) October 27, 2017
Bill O'Brien 'I love these players.'— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) October 27, 2017
I’ll readily admit the timing of this can easily lead one to believe the Texans’ top wide receiver left NRG Park in protest over McNair’s comments. It could also be purely coincidental that Hopkins wasn’t around today. People will undoubtedly speculate both ways, at least until Hopkins addresses it.
I don’t want this to turn into a political discussion. You have your opinion. I have mine. There are plenty of other forums for you to express a political opinion, and I urge you to head to one of those places to do so if you feel the need.
With that thought in mind, the floor is yours to discuss this Texans news item below.
UPDATE: Duane Brown weighs in on McNair’s comments.
Duane Brown on Bob McNair 'I think the comments were disrespectful and ignorant'— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) October 27, 2017
UPDATE II: The Texans considered walking out today. Although they decided to attend practice, they’re not yet sure what they’ll do next.
Duane Brown said players considered walking out of the building today after Bob McNair comments— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) October 27, 2017
Duane Brown said players met before practice and decided to practice ultimately but it's not over and players will reconvene— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) October 27, 2017
Duane Brown says team had meeting today to voice how they felt and he fully believes O’Brien and coaching staff has their back.— Lainie Fritz (@KPRC2Lainie) October 27, 2017
UPDATE III: Adam Schefter says that Hopkins’ absence was in fact because of what McNair said.
Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins’ absence from practice today was related to Bob McNair’s comments, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 27, 2017
UPDATE IV: This is nowhere near over.
The Texans will do something before Sunday’s game in Seattle but the team has not decided yet what that will be.— Sarah Barshop (@sarahbarshop) October 27, 2017
UPDATE V: A transcript of some of Brown’s remarks:
Duane Brown on Bob McNair's comments: "(We) can’t stay quiet about it....this is bigger than just the protests." pic.twitter.com/yNInBoT30b— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) October 27, 2017
UPDATE VI: Bill O’Brien is a leader of men. It looks like he, Rick Smith, and Romeo Crennel did an excellent job of handling the reaction to McNair’s comments and giving the players the opportunity to address them within the locker room.
Texans HC Bill O’Brien apprised his team of Bob McNair’s comments at morning meeting today so they would not be blinsdsided, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 27, 2017
Bill O’Brien, GM Rick Smith and asst. HC Romeo Crennel then led 90-minute team meeting in which players were given platform to speak out.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 27, 2017
Expectation now is all Texans, including Hopkins, will be with team Saturday, when it is scheduled to leave for Seattle. But we’ll see.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 27, 2017
UPDATE VII: McNair reportedly met with the players today (Saturday). Everyone is expected to be available tomorrow when the Texans take on the Seahawks.