Nevertheless, Texans players were offended enough by the statement that they reportedly wanted to walk out of practice, and it took a group meeting with coach Bill O'Brien and general manager Rick Smith to get majority to stay.
Instead, numerous Houston Texans players took a knee before their game against the Seahawks because of a comment made by the team owner, Bob McNair. The fact they protested this week in the wake of McNair's comments is likely not a coincidence.
The Houston Texans all got on the plane for the team's game against the Seattle Seahawks, but that doesn't mean the controversy over owner Bob McNair's comments is over. When the anthem started more than half the active roster took a knee. The player also said that he expects everyone on the team to travel Saturday to Seattle for Sunday's game against the Seahawks.
It appears that McNair's apology was not enough for some players.
McNair met with the players on Saturday, then released another statement in which he claimed the "inmates" comment was a reference to the league office, not the players. "To use an analogy of inmates in a prison, I would say they're disrespectful". Several players publicly came out against the owner's comments, including veteran Duane Brown.
The controversy is part of a larger polemic that extends to last season, when Colin Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem to raise awareness about racial inequality.
One of those was African-American NFL vice president/football operations Troy Vincent, a former player, who told the owners that during his playing career he had been called many names, including the N-word, but "never felt like an inmate".
About ten players stood with their hands over their hearts, according to The Houston Chronicle.