About 40 players knelt Sunday afternoon.
The Houston Texans' matchup against the Seattle Seahawks was a game that had many talking because of what took place both before and during the game. Before Houston succumbed to Seattle by 3 points with a score of 38-41, the vast majority of the squad took to one knee during the national anthem following Texans’ owner Bob McNair’s comments during a meeting with other owners in which he expressed that “we can’t have the inmates running the prison,” in response to the league-wide action of kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial inequality in the United States.
"I know they were upset," McNair told the Houston Chronicle about a team meeting he had with his own players in light of the controversial remark. "I wanted to answer their questions. I told them if I had it to do over again I wouldn't use that expression."
Nevertheless, the team still wanted to get their point across when about 40 of them knelt during the anthem Sunday afternoon, and according to reports the move wasn’t met with a resounding sea of boos amid scatter cheers as most players who kneel often face—a clear sign to fans and players sentiments moving closer to connecting on the subject.
“We're a family," said cornerback Kevin Johnson. "As a team we wanted to send a message." As for coach Bill O’Brien, his support was also present for his players. "I support my players 100 percent. I love my players. I support them 100 percent."
This move comes ahead of a scheduled meeting between owners of the league and players, a sit-down coordinatized by the NFL Players Coalition, led by Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins. A number of bumps in the road presented themselves before this meeting ever actualized. So much so that Jenkins since announced that the meeting was canceled because the league did not accept the invitation to Philadelphia for the proposed meeting on Monday.
"At this point, the ball is in their court," Jenkins said. "We'll continue to do what we've been doing. Guys are working around the league."
"They want to get back to football; we want to move past anthem demonstrations,” he went on to add. "But to do that, we need to be able to replace the platform that we have."