Several members of the Seahawks’ defensive line again sat on the bench during the anthem, including Michael Bennett, Sheldon Richardson, Cliff Avril, Jarran Reed, Frank Clark, Quinton Jefferson, Marcus Smith, Branden Jackson and Nazair Jones. Another defensive lineman, Dion Jordan, stood next to those players along with offensive linemen Justin Britt and Oday Aboushi. Linebacker Michael Wilhoite again took a knee.
Houston wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and rookie running back D’Onta Foreman missed Friday’s practice as a response to Texans owner Bob McNair’s controversial “inmates running the prison” comment, which was said during an Oct. 18 meeting in which owners talked about business concerns related to player protests during the national anthem. McNair’s comments were reported in an ESPN The Magazine story on Friday morning.
McNair issued an apology Friday morning and further clarified his comments in a statement on Saturday, saying, “I was not referring to our players when I made a very regretful comment during the owners meetings last week.”
“I was referring to the relationship between the league office and team owners and how they have been making significant strategic decisions affecting our league without adequate input from ownership over the past few years,” McNair said in the statement. “I am truly sorry to the players for how this has impacted them and the perception that it has created of me which could not be further from the truth. Our focus going forward, personally and as an organization, will be towards making meaningful progress regarding the social issues that mean so much to our players and our community.”
On Friday, veteran Duane Brown spoke out against McNair’s comments, saying he thought it was “disrespectful.” The Texans added Brown to the active roster on Saturday after his season-long holdout, and he took the field for the first time Sunday.
“I think it was ignorant,” Brown said. “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.”
Before the Texans’ Week 3 game in New England in 2016, an injured Brown raised his fist during the national anthem, and expressed displeasure at the lack of support he received from the organization.
ESPN’s Brady Henderson contributed to this report.
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