NFL owner Bob McNair regrets apologizing for calling Black players ‘inmates’

via Texans (NFL media photo)

Bob McNair has decided to retract an apology for a statement that many viewed as racist. In a recent interview with Wall Street Journal, McNair said that he regrets his apology for saying, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison,” in reference to NFL players kneeling during the national anthem.

In the WSJ interview, McNair said that he was referring to NFL executives and not players. “I really didn’t have anything to apologize for…In business, it’s a common expression. But the general public doesn’t understand it, perhaps,” he said.

However, his analogy is flawed because it would not make sense to compare NFL execs to inmates when the meeting was about NFL players kneeling during the national anthem.

During the meeting, which took place in Oct. 2017, Trump supporter and Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones was against the protests and claimed that it hurt the league’s bottom line. Other owners such as Redskins’ Dan Snyder was also against the players’ protests and wanted to implement a rule that would require players to stand during the national anthem. Snyder also falsely claimed that “96 percent of Americans” want the players to stand.

But the argument turned dark after comments by McNair of the Texans. McNair, who is also a Trump supporter, told the players and owners, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison.” McNair’s statement basically compared NFL players to criminals and slaves. Slaves did not have the right to protest in any form or they faced being punished or lynched. It’s a mentality of keeping Blacks “in their place” and restricting rights that are granted by the First Amendment.

McNair initially apologized for his statement, but he only apologized because the statement made it to the public. His words were his true feelings and they revealed, again, that most NFL owners see their players as property.

 

A.R. Shaw is an author and journalist who documents culture, politics, and entertainment. He has covered The Obama White House, the summer Olympics in London, and currently serves as Lifestyle Editor for Rolling Out magazine. Follow his journey on Twitter @arshaw and Instagram @arshaw23.

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