After more than 30 members of the Houston Texans knelt during the national anthem before the Seahawks game, local fans had mixed reactions on Sunday.
The players knelt in protest in response to a comment made by the Texans owner Bob McNair during an owners meeting last Friday in New York.
McNair reportedly said “we can’t have inmates running the prison” during discussions of a possible change to NFL policy which would require players to stand during the national anthem.
Sunday's protest was the first time Texans players have demonstrated prior to a game.
McNair met with Texans players a day later to express regret over the comment.
Texans fans watching the game against the Seahawks at Two-a-Days sports bar in Pearland had mixed reactions to the protests but were discouraged by McNair’s remarks.
“You’ve pretty much got a slave owner/slave mentality,” said one Texans fan.
Another fan made an appeal to the owner.
“Mr. McNair, in Houston, we love you,” said Texans fan, Sergio Mendoza. “But support what we support.”
Mendoza believes players should be allowed to perform expressions of protest before the games. He said he thinks the public should be supportive of their decisions.
“If you believe in something, you should stand up for it,” Mendoza said. “We’ve got to support them when they feel so strongly about something.”
Others at the same sports bar disagree with some of the players’ decision to kneel during the national anthem and feel it is disrespectful to members of the military.
“If they would just choose not to do it, it would be a hell of a lot better,” said Texans fan, Jessie Morales. “I don't think it would be such a bad thing for them to just stand. I mean, at the end of the day, it's still a great country.”
McNair has apologized twice for the comment and met with his players on Saturday. He said he was calling the team owners “inmates” and not his players.