Advertisement

Houston Texans' Bill O'Brien keeping the feelings of players in mind after Bob McNair comment

By The Sports Xchange
Houston Texans' Bill O'Brien keeping the feelings of players in mind after Bob McNair comment
Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien talks into his headset while on the sideline in the second quarter against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts on September 22, 2016. File photo by Matthew Healey/UPI | License Photo

Houston Texans coach Bill O'Brien is trying to keep his players focused after a weekend of dealing with team owner Bob McNair's "inmates running the prison" comment.

All but 10 Texans players kneeled and linked arms during the national anthem before Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks in protest of the owner's comment.

Advertisement

O'Brien was asked Monday about the keys to keeping players focused, a day after the 41-38 loss at the Seattle Seahawks.

"Understand the players' feelings," O'Brien told reporters regarding the issue. "Understand that you have 63 guys in that locker room that come from all different types of backgrounds, all different parts of the country.

RELATED Deshaun Watson: Houston Texans rookie quarterback shines in defeat to Seattle Seahawks

"Make sure you listen to the players, and at the end of the day, you support the players. The players are the ones going out there and putting it on the line for us every week. I feel like our coaching staff and our players have a very important bond, and that's key. That's why I've always, since I started coaching when I was a graduate assistant, it's always been about the players for me."

Advertisement

From Hurricane Harvey to the McNair controversy to the Jerry Sandusky aftermath while he was head coach at Penn State, O'Brien has dealt with distractions.

"Well certainly going through that experience at Penn State was a big help for me, personally," O'Brien said. "I had a lot of great guys around me, with the players that were there and then obviously we had a great coaching staff there.

RELATED Russell Wilson-led Seattle Seahawks win shootout over Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans

"It's very, very different here relative to what we're talking about. But we have a great group of guys in that locker room and a great coaching staff. I think you learn from all your experiences and you just try to judge it and try to deal with it in the best way possible."

After his comment -- "We can't have the inmates running the prison" -- reported by ESPN The Magazine became public Friday, the 79-year-old McNair apologized, met with the Texans players and issued two statements.

Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and rookie running back D'Onta Foreman missed Friday's practice in response to McNair's comment made during an Oct. 18 meeting where owners talked about business concerns related to the anthem protests.

Advertisement
RELATED Houston Texans protest owner Bob McNair's insensitive remark by kneeling, linking arms

"Maybe we spent less time on certain parts of the game in the meeting room, but we didn't lose any practice time, if that makes sense," O'Bien said. "That's kind of how we handled it, but the big thing was, like I said, we, big emphasis on we, not just me, like I've said from day one, is we support our players 100 percent."

NFL owners and executives have been scrambling to determine the best response to players kneeling during the national anthem this season, a movement started last year by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to denounce police brutality against African-Americans, social injustice and racial inequality. A number of players followed Kaepernick's lead by taking a knee during the anthem last year and this season.

President Donald Trump continued his criticism of the NFL following the owners meeting with players on Oct. 17 to discuss the ongoing national anthem protests. McNair contributed to Trump's campaign and donated $1 million to Trump's inaugural committee.

RELATED Bob McNair: Houston Texans players react to owner's comment

NFL players who have demonstrated during the national anthem have said they are protesting racial inequality, but not the flag or the anthem itself.

Advertisement

Latest Headlines

Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us

Advertisement