ESPN reports that during a series of closed-door meetings among NFL team owners, executives, and players some progress has been made in determining the direction of the league. Players want the right to protest during the anthem, while team owners are more hesitant. After a week of argument, debate, and repeatedly calling black players the wrong names, the most inappropriate comment of all came from Houston Texans owner Bob McNair.
“We can’t have the inmates running the prison,” said McNair, a multimillion-dollar Trump campaign contributor, according to an ESPN report about the conference.
NFL executive and former player Troy Vincent reportedly took the most offense to the comment, engaging in heated back-and-forth with McNair and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones—a hardliner against NFL players kneeling.
McNair later apologized to Vincent, per ESPN. McNair doesn’t deny what he said, he only “feels horrible and that his words weren’t meant to be taken literally.”
Additionally, the report observed how Jones and Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder were openly angry with San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York for allowing ex-quarterback Colin Kaepernick to kneel a year ago, kicking off the league’s national anthem “crisis.”
On Friday morning, the Texans released a statement from McNair: “I regret that I used that expression. I never meant to offend anyone and I was not referring to our players,” he said. “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.”