Just when the NFL thought the national anthem kneeling controversy was simmering down, a leaked comment by Texans owner Bob McNair — “we can’t have the inmates running the prison” – has it back on full boil.
Texans players considered walking out. McNair’s defenders have called his phrasing a figure of speech that was taken out of context. Players, understandably, see it very differently, having long said that the league’s owners don’t see an employer/employee relationship but one where they own the players. To players, that comment is evidence of the attitude they oppose.
Draymond Green — who is willing to weigh in on any topic — ripped into McNair on Instagram with the worst insult an NBA player can make to an owner.
Wow! This sure does sound very Donald Sterling-esque. But I'm sure the fans pay to see him play and he's putting himself at risk of CTE by going out there every Sunday and giving 110%! Inmates? For starters, let's stop using the word owner and maybe use the word Chairman. To be owned by someone just sets a bad precedent to start. It sets the wrong tone. It gives one the wrong mindset. Webster states that an inmate is a person confined to an institution such as a prison or hospital. Not sure these tax paying men should be referred to as inmates- but what do I know?
The racist exploits of former Clipper owner Donald Sterling are things of infamy. Some of the worst stuff never even became public. To compare an owner to him is the worst insult an NBA player can have for ownership.
I’m not going to get into the right and wrong of all this — McNair has apologized for his comment — but it should give you insight into how players in all pro sports see the world. They don’t see themselves as entitled — fortunate to have some genetic gifts, sure, but you don’t make it to the NBA/NFL without the clichéd 10,000 hours working at your craft. They put in the time, they work hard, and they feel they have earned the right to be in the league. They pay their taxes — federal, state, and a heavy “jock tax” everywhere — and do work in the community (not all, but most). They feel they participate and boost the brand of the franchise, something the owners benefit from. Players see the relationship as symbiotic, not one where they are owned.