Bob Mcnair’s “Inmate” Comment Exemplifies Why Players Take A Knee

Even in this charged atmosphere in which racial animus that once lurked in the digital dungeons and message boards of cloaked demagogues has tainted public discourse to the point where there is an ostensibly white supremacist in the White House, hearing Houston Texans owner Bob McNairs careless utterance in a meeting in which a prominent African American NFL executive like Troy Vincent is present to discuss social activism in a league that is 60 percent of African descent  stabs a jagged shard into the heart of why an entire movement that is simply asking for respect of Black life in America is facing such resistance. 

We cant have the inmates running the prison.  

Yep, those are his exact words in describing a league that has, fair or not, been compared to a slave plantation by dozens of reporters for decades.  Its a crime at how thickheaded some powerful people are.  I guess its a virtue in the boardroom. Boardrooms that are traditionally devoid of black and brown faces as well, I must add.

Aaron Wilson on Twitter

Duane Brown: “This is how you view us?: ‘You’re an inmate. We can’t let you get out of line. We can’t let you speak for yourself.’

Safe money says he has never had to deal with anyone without a major advantage, thats what billions get you. Same money says Troy Vincent is the most powerful black executive hes had to deal with in at least a year.

Taking place during a meeting at NFL headquarters last week in New York, not only did his words ring of racism but classism.  Now, at this point we already know that he would never have said what he said had he been studious enough to research the historic context of which those players whose methods he disapproves of are drawing upon, and are inspired by, but that really doesnt matter now. When it comes to powerful men in America, white men are the historic and contemporary norm.  Thus, when they speak, it is from the perspective of an American male who has gotten just about whatever he has wanted., both in life and in the boardroom. 

After the owners finished, Trentons own Troy Vincent was not going to let those words evaporate without having his say.  He told Sports Illustrated that in all his years of playing in the NFL — during which, he said, he had been called every name in the book, including the N-word — he never felt like an “inmate.”

Exactly one week after those words were uttered, Bob McNair had this to say.

“I regret that I used that expression,” McNair said in a statement. “I never meant to offend anyone and I was not referring to our players. 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.”

Regret, huh? I bet he does regret those words. I bet he does wish he didnt portray his true feelings.  His statement was actually a fumbled paraphrasing of The inmates are running the asylum. It may have had a slightly different connotation had it come out right.  Negative still, but different.

The effects of McNairs carelessness continue to echo.  Today, WR DeAndre Hopkins absence from practice has been attributed to the team owners comments. 

Adam Schefter on Twitter

Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins’ absence from practice today was related to Bob McNair’s comments, per source.

Additionally, there have been reports that a multitude of other Texans players were prepared to walkout and had to be persuaded to stay. The mushroom cloud continues to explode, dumping what amounts to radioactive fallout on a Texans team that really could do without it.

Here’s what Golden State Warriors PF Draymond Green had to say about it via Instagram: 

Wow! This sure does sound very Donald Sterling-esque. But I’m sure the fans pay to see him play and he’s putting himself at risk of CTE by going out there every Sunday and giving 110%! Inmates? For starters, let’s stop using the word owner and maybe use the word Chairman. To be owned by someone just sets a bad precedent to start. It’s sets the wrong tone. It gives one the wrong mindset. Webster states that an inmate is a person confined to an institution such as a prison or hospital. Not sure these tax paying men should be referred to as inmates- but what do I know?

6,818 Likes, 371 Comments – Draymond Green (@money23green) on Instagram: “Wow! This sure does sound very Donald Sterling-esque. But I’m sure the fans pay to see him play and…”

And the hits just keep on coming.  Outspoken Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman took to Twitter as well.

Richard Sherman on Twitter

I can appreciate ppl being candid. Don’t apologize! You meant what you said. Showing true colors allows ppl to see you for who you are.

Twitter is ablaze with athletes, their spouses, fans and supporters admonishing Bob McNair for his comments. As Richard Sherman stated, we should never be upset when the truth is revealed. 

We should do our best not to be reactionary when truths are revealed. 

Though McNair reportedly apologized to Vincent immediately after the meeting, a bomb cannot “unexplode” once the catalyst is ignited. He’ll have to deal with it. And so will the NFL. 

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