Bob Levey/Getty Images
Houston Texans owner Bob McNair was in hot water last October when he said, “we can’t have the inmates running the prison” when referring to players protesting during the national anthem, but apparently his words were not shocking to former Texans running back Arian Foster.
“You hear the rumblings, so…that was my first thought—that it didn’t surprise me he thought like that,” Foster said, per Martin Rogers of USA Today. “Knowing my experience of being an NFL player, it is of my understanding that that’s how they view the players anyway.”
McNair’s words originally came during a meeting between owners and commissioner Roger Goodell, per Seth Wickersham and Don Van Natta Jr. of ESPN.com.
McNair initially apologized for being insensitive, but then later seemed to go back on the apology.
“The main thing I regret is apologizing,” McNair said in April, per Andrew Beaton of the Wall Street Journal. “I really didn’t have anything to apologize for.”
While he referred to his words as an expression that shouldn’t be taken literally, it appeared to show the owner’s mindset of controlling the players.
Foster spent seven years with the Texans and came to expect these types of statements.
“I absolutely take who (McNair) is and where he comes from into consideration,” the 31-year-old said. “He is an 80-year-old white man. When he was younger the prevailing thought was that there are two races that don’t really belong together.”
Foster also noted Thursday Night Football is an example where owners choose money over player safety.
Though the running back retired after the 2016 season, he still understands the ongoing divide between players and owners.