Houston Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins’ practice absence reportedly due to owner Bob McNair ‘inmate’ comment
Texans Pro Bowl WR DeAndre Hopkins’ absence from Friday’s practice was related to team owner Bob McNair saying in a closed-door players-owners meeting two weeks ago, “we can’t have the inmates running the prison” according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Schefter tweeted Friday that “Texans players wanted to walkout today in response to Bob McNair’s comments, per @sarahbarshop. Had to be persuaded.”
Apparently one of the Texans’ best players couldn’t be persuaded to stay, however. Texans coach Bill O’Brien initially said Hopkins left the building to take a personal day, according to Barshop on Twitter. Schefter tweeted shortly thereafter that Hopkins’ decision was related to McNair’s controversial remark, exposed in an ESPN story that went behind the scenes of the meeting in New York two weeks ago.
Added Texans LT Duane Brown, according to the Houston Chronicle: “I’m very upset. It sickened me. .. It’s horrible. It’s frustrating. I’m not surprised by it.“McNair issued an apology on Friday morning, before news of Hopkins’ and Texans’ players discontent broke.
“I regret that I used that expression. I never meant to offend anyone and I was not referring to our players,” McNair wrote in the statement released by the club Friday. “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.”
The meeting was originally intended to help players and owners find common ground over protests and, the league likely hoped, get the issue out of the spotlight of disenchanted fans all the way up to president Donald Trump. Due to McNair’s comment, the issue isn’t going away — it’s caused the Texans’ top receiver to do so.
That this latest controversy has broken out just one day before Houston, which hoped to emerge from the bye healthy and free of distractions, faces its toughest test on the season when it visits the Seahawks makes matters even worse.