The Houston Texans, incensed by team owner Bob McNair’s poorly worded description of players as “inmates,” staged a mass protest during the national anthem prior to Houston’s game against the Seattle Seahawks.
Virtually all Texans knelt for the anthem, locking arms or holding hands on the sideline. National media in attendance put the number of players standing at about 10. At the NFL owners’ meetings last week, McNair had expressed frustration with the way that the protest had affected the NFL’s business, and said, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison.” He apologized on at least two occasions for that unfortunate turn of phrase, but players were not convinced. Receiver DeAndre Hopkins left the Texans’ facility on Friday after learning of the comments.
The Texans had discussed several options for protest prior to Sunday’s game, including kneeling, sitting, remaining in the locker room during the anthem or peeling the Texans’ logo off their helmets. Clearly, the protest was large, one of the most significant by any single team to date, but not unanimous.
This marked the first time any Texans players had protested during the anthem. Offensive tackle Duane Brown had raised a fist last season, the only demonstration the Texans had shown since protests began in the 2016 preseason. On Friday, Brown called McNair’s comments “embarrassing, ignorant and frustrating.”
Houston Texan wide receiver Andre Johnson spent over $16,000 on toys for children in need. The Andre Johnson Foundation hosted its annual event for 11 kids in Texas’ Child Protective Services at a local Toys ‘R’ Us.
Every child who participated received a bike and a gaming system, as well as all the toys they could grab in 80 seconds.
It has been an underwhelming season for the Houston Texans, but eleven straight losses have not gotten in the way of wide receiver Andre Johnson’s yearly effort to bring some smiles to the faces of kids who could use them. Johnson has made an annual tradition out of giving twelve kids chosen by Child Protective Services in Houston on a shopping spree at Toys R Us. The kids have 80 seconds, in honor Johnson’s No. 80, to fill up carts with everything they can grab off the shelves. Every kid teamed up with a Texans cheerleader to race through the store and was guaranteed an entertainment system of their choice and two games in addition to anything else they grabbed.
“I remember times where I wasn’t able to get things that I wanted,” Johnson said, via the Texans website. “It just gives them a chance to go through the store and get whatever they want. They don’t have to ask anybody for it. Whatever they have on their Christmas list they can pick up.”
The Texans website has some great video from the event (seen below), which Johnson has hosted for seven years. The final tab for this year’s event was $17,352, which is a pretty impressive total given the short period of time the kids had to work even if it is a bit less than last year’s total.