Texans contingent, mayor discuss community/police relations
Owner Bob McNair and left tackle Duane Brown were part of a Texans contingent that met Tuesday with Mayor Sylvester Turner to try to formulate a plan for the organization to help improve the community.
Vice chairman Cal McNair, president Jamey Rootes, general manager Rick Smith, director of security Emmett Baylor and offensive linemen Jeff Allen, Chris Clark and Kendall Lamm also attended the meeting that included law enforcement, political and civic leaders.
“We initiated the meeting because we have some players concerned about the relations between the police and the African-American community,” McNair said. “The purpose of the meeting was to ask if we could sit down and talk and see if we can do something positive.”
They met for more than two hours in Turner’s office.
“We want to see if our players can help bring the community together and help establish a better working relationship with the police,” McNair said. “There’s a lack of trust on the part of the African-American community with the police department. We need to get the police more active and involved in the community on a non-confrontational basis.
“I thought it was an exceptional meeting. I’m really proud of our mayor. He’s very realistic. He understands the issues, and he’s addressing them. We want to address them also. We said to him, ‘How can we help you? Let’s come together, communicate, and determine what actions might be beneficial to the community. And let’s take those actions.’?”
Turner wants to be proactive to avoid problems experienced in other cities.
“Houston is impacted by what happens across the country - what’s happening in Tulsa or Charlotte or Ferguson or Baltimore - and we have our own issues that we need to address,” Turner said. “The players are very concerned about the issues that are being discussed across our country: incidents involving police shootings, the criminal justice system, the inequities in many of these neighborhoods.”
The Texans want to head off potential problems and help solve the ones that have already been created.
“We talked about national and systemic issues, but more important, they’re also local issues,” Smith said. “We have local resources and local relationships that can provide local solutions. That’s what we’re focused on, and that’s what will be accomplished.”
Brown, who is in his ninth season, wants to become more active in the community.
″(We) had some dialogue about our concerns and frustrations,” Brown said. “We were able to voice things that we wanted to see changed. They were able to voice things to us, things that they’re trying to implement into their training and things they are (being) implemented among themselves to prevent certain situations from happening here. It was a phenomenal meeting. I think we all learned a lot.
“We’re definitely working for a common goal to create an understanding in our community and live in harmony. What I plan on doing is to continue to (give) my time and efforts in different programs.”
Brown has been protesting social injustice while standing and raising his right fist during the national anthem. The pregame anthem has become a time when many NFL players have expressed their feelings after San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick sat during the anthem in the preseason.
“I stood for the anthem to show love and support for our country and raised my fist in solidarity with the people that are fighting against injustices,” Brown said. “While I play a game I love, and one that’s provided a great lifestyle for me and my family, I’m very conscious and very aware of what’s going on in other communities. It hits home everything that’s happening.”
Brown and his teammates were able to speak with law enforcement during the meeting.
“They have a better sense of what our police department is doing and how we’re working to be respectful of everybody in the community,” Turner said. “It was one of those meetings where everyone left feeling good about our city and looking to find ways how we can partner together to improve our city.”