Texans owner Bob McNair suddenly has a problem on his hands. He referred to NFL players as “inmates” and said that “we can’t have the inmates running the prison” in reference to player demonstrations during the national anthem.
Well, Bob, players aren’t prisoners. They’re employees.
“Bob McNair has apologized, so there’s every reason to believe that quote was accurate,” Jason La Canfora said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “However you want to frame it, you really shouldn’t refer to your employees, your labor, as prisoners, especially in the climate that we’re in.”
Several Houston players, including DeAndre Hopkins, left the team facility Friday, and Hopkins’ absence from practice was reportedly due to McNair’s comments.
Given the Donald Sterling world in which we live, McNair, who made the remark at the owners meeting last week, should have realized his words would get out.
“It always gets out, there are no secrets, and DeAndre Hopkins’ absence today, I’m told, is directly related to that,” La Canfora said. “Bill O’Brien more or less confirmed as much. When you’re asked directly about something like that and when you don’t knock it down, you’re sort of implicitly confirming it. I’ve heard through other people that is, in fact, why DeAndre Hopkins left before practice.
“(McNair has) got an issue on his hands,” La Canfora continued. “These are guys who play a very difficult sport, a very violent sport, and who obviously are compensated well for it. But you don’t want to feel like a piece of meat. You don’t want to feel like somebody who’s easily discarded, and comments like that provoke thoughts like that. So do I think it means the team tanks now? No. But he’s someone who might want to have face-to-face meetings with some players and alter the course of his weekend and approach them as individual human beings and not human cogs.”
The Texans (3-3) face the Seahawks (4-2) in Seattle this Sunday at 4:05 p.m. ET.
La Canfora also weighed in on Thursday’s chippy game between the Dolphins and Ravens, as Miami defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh choked Ravens backup quarterback Ryan Mallett in the fourth quarter of a 40-0 loss.
That was, well, not very smart.
“He hasn’t had the same sort of consistent discipline issues in Miami as he had in Detroit,” La Canfora said of Suh, “but he’s certainly someone who has a history of behavior well outside the bounds of what’s considered normal. I have not heard about a suspension, but certainly I would expect a fine. Beyond that, I’m not sure. I think it’s fair to say his two-and-a-half seasons in Miami haven’t been decorated. He’s still a very impactful player and all that, but by the end of this year, he will have made $60 million just with the Miami Dolphins alone, and we’ll see how many playoff wins and sacks and run-stuffs they have to show for that.”
Mallett, of course, wasn’t the only Baltimore QB harmed Thursday. Joe Flacco was concussed in the second quarter after getting lit up by Kiko Alonso.
“I thought he made every attempt to give himself up,” La Canfora said of Flacco. “I thought Alonso went low and it seemed to me he was head-hunting there. When you dive that low, where do you think they’re going to hit a guy? Was he trying to hit him in the ankle? If you leave your feet and you projectile yourself, you better be damn sure. The quarterback has to slide, and if he’s in the act of sliding and he takes a direct kill shot to the head to the extent that it dislodges a helmet and leaves him clearly immediately concussed on the field, I don’t know. I don’t know the answer. You’re never going to take it completely out of the game, but if that’s a not at least a fine, (I don’t know).”