Houston Texans Owner: “We can’t have the inmates run the prison”
Players Respond by Kneeling During Anthem

October 30, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


From a reader:

Last week Robert McNair, owner of the NFL Houston Texans, in talking about the players who are refusing to stand for the national anthem and acting in other ways to protest police brutality and murder against Black people, said, “We can’t have the inmates run the prison.”

This Sunday, the Houston Texans players delivered an unmistakable response. The team knelt en masse during the anthem. It was reported that only 10 Texans players were standing during the anthem. The Texans were playing the Seattle Seahawks. Several Seahawks players sat during the anthem, as they have been doing during the games this season.

Before the Sunday game, DeAndre Hopkins, all-pro receiver for the Texans, did not show up for practice on Friday in protest of McNair’s statement. McNair’s comments almost caused the entire team to revolt. Adam Schefter of ESPN tweeted, “Texans players wanted to walkout today in response to owner Bob McNair’s comments, per @sarahbarshop. Had to be persuaded to stay.”

The New York Daily News reported, “Texans offensive tackle Duane Brown told the Houston Chronicle that players ultimately chose to attend practice. But the team will get together to discuss the issue at a later time...” Brown said, “I think it angered a lot of players, including myself. We put our bodies and minds on the line every time we step on that field, and to use an analogy of inmates in prison, that's disrespectful. That's how I feel about it...It sickened me...it’s horrible, it’s frustrating... I’m not surprised by it.” The Texans rookie safety, Treston Decoud, tweeted, “I don’t believe he is the only owner that feel that way... smh [shaking my head]”

McNair is part of a large group of owners who supported Donald Trump for president. The Washington Post reported, “The Houston Texans owner donated $2 million in 2016 to a pro-Trump super PAC. He is also among the eight NFL team owners who collectively doled out millions of dollars for Trump’s inauguration.”

Other NFL players spoke out against McNair. Eric Reid of the San Francisco 49ers, who has been kneeling for the anthem during the past two seasons, said, “I don’t think he [McNair] could’ve picked a poorer choice of words, referring to us as prisoners. Welcome to America 2017.”

Richard Sherman of the Seattle Seahawks tweeted, “I can appreciate ppl [people] being candid. Don’t apologize! You meant what you said. Showing true colors allows ppl to see you for who you are. ... I wish more ppl would do that. So the world could ostracize those who don’t want to see EQUALITY. Otherwise they will continue to hide.”

Brian Orakpo, linebacker for the Tennessee Titans, tweeted, “That's how they really feel huh??? These words out this man's mouth are infuriating to me and the rest of my brothers in this League.”

The battle of the NFL players against the owners and Donald Trump has now escalated and is becoming extremely sharp. Despite all the attempts to get the players to stop their anthem protest, the owners’ slave master/prison warden mentality towards their players has further fueled the players’ anger and resolve to continue their protests against racial injustice and the continuing murders of Black people by the police.

What the owners want is to be controlling the Black players and keeping them “down and in their place” as subservient “sub-humans.” The logic of these owners who are supporting Trump and his fascist agenda is that, because they own the team, they also “own” the players—and the extension of that logic is that the players have to do what the owners say. This means that in no way are any of these owners going to allow any player to refuse to stand for the national anthem. Welcome to America 2017, where the open promotion of slave relations is now the norm in the NFL.

This quote from Bob Avakian (BA) is very relevant to what’s going on:

There would be no United States as we now know it today without slavery. That is a simple and basic truth. (BAsics 1:1)

So here we have a significant group of owners who have allied themselves with a fascist regime, which is bringing more and worse horrors for the masses of Black people in this country with mass incarceration, police murdering them, almost non-existent health care, the worst education, poverty, and being forced into broken-down neighborhoods.

But the masses of Black people have begun to stand up against this. They took to the streets when these outrageous police murders were exposed by videos and when the murdering cops were not arrested and when those who were arrested were allowed to walk because of the unjust legal system. The players in the NFL have become a part of that struggle, and they are now under attack by the owners and the Trump/Pence regime. This attempt to silence the Black players is a part of ramping up and consolidating fascism in this country and normalizing today what was not normal last year. Welcome to America 2017.

The players must be supported and defended. Right now the best and most important way to support these players and the struggle to end the brutality and murder of Black people is to become a part of the struggle to get rid of the Trump/Pence regime. We have something to say about that, and the masses of people have a vehicle to make this happen on November 4—when we start the mass movement to stop and end the fascist Trump/Pence regime.

November 4—It Begins

Take to the streets and public squares in cities and towns across the country day after day after night—not stopping—until our DEMAND is met:

This Nightmare Must End:

The Trump/Pence Regime MUST Go!

In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE To Accept a Fascist America!


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