Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank said he was in the room when Houston Texans owner Bob McNair made his now famous comment about not wanting “inmates running the prison” in reference to NFL player protests.
Although Blank called McNair one of "the brightest, fair minded, most concerned owners in the NFL,” he said McNair has realized he chose a poor metaphor when speaking about NFL protests.
“I think others heard it differently in the room and responded that way, but Bob like most people that are thoughtful and sensitive and caring which he is, he recognizes (a) poor choice of words in that context. Let me not defend it,” Blank said in an interview with CBS News.
McNair later apologized for his comments and said he was not referring to players with his comments.
“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,” McNair’s statement read in part.
Texans players and players across the league have been vocal about their disapproval of McNair's comment with some like Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins skipping practice for a "personal day" on Friday.
After reportedly meeting on Saturday to discuss a demonstration of unity as a team, all but six Texans players took a knee during the playing of the national anthem before Sunday’s game against the Seahawks in Seattle.
CBS News reported Blank understands fans’ anger toward players not standing during the national anthem, but doesn’t believe the league should mandate players stand.