- The Washington Times - Friday, October 27, 2017

Houston Texans owner Bob McNair apologized Friday amid backlash over an expression he used while speaking about the national anthem protests.

“We can’t have the inmates running the prison,” Mr. McNair was quoted as saying during a closed-door meeting with NFL executives, ESPN reported.

He was reportedly referring to the business impact of the protests, which began as a statement against racial injustice. NFL vice president of football operations, Troy Vincent, who is black, took issue with the comment.

“McNair later pulled Vincent aside and apologized, saying that he felt horrible and that his words weren’t meant to be taken literally, which Vincent appreciated,” ESPN reported.

But the comment by Mr. McNair caused massive backlash on social media by users who deemed it a racist dog whistle. The Texans owner publicly apologized Friday morning, saying he never meant for the comment to be taken literally.

“I regret that I used that expression. I never meant to offend anyone and I was not referring to our players,” he wrote in a statement released by the Texans. “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.”

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