Houston Texans kneel during pregame protest over owner comparing players to 'inmates'

PHOTO: Houston Texans linebacker Lamarr Houston and cornerback Kevin Johnson kneel during the national anthem before kickoff against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Oct. 29, 2017.PlayJoe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
WATCH Texans kneel during pregame after owner compared players to 'inmates'

The majority of Houston Texans players took a knee or sat during a pregame protest as a unit before Sunday's game against the Seattle Seahawks.

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The unified silent display during the "Star-Spangled Banner" came in the wake of team owner Bob McNair's controversial "inmates running the prison" comment, a league source told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The Texans held a players' meeting Saturday in Seattle to decide how to handle Sunday after McNair's comments surfaced, the source said.

According to the source, the players discussed a variety of options including kneeling together, and also discussed peeling the Texans decal off of their helmets or raising their fists.

The players all held hands. Most kneeled or sat down, while at least one player appeared to remain standing.

PHOTO: Houston Texans players kneel and stand during the singing of the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Oct. 29, 2017, in Seattle.Elaine Thompson/AP
Houston Texans players kneel and stand during the singing of the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Oct. 29, 2017, in Seattle.

McNair's comment was made during the owners meeting in New York earlier this month. Referring to ongoing player demonstrations during the anthem, he said, "We can't have the inmates running the prison."

It was featured in an ESPN The Magazine story published Friday that looked in detail on what went on at an Oct. 17 meeting of select NFL owners, players and union leaders and the full owners meeting the following day at which McNair made the comment.

McNair apologized for the comment Friday and again Saturday, saying: "I am truly sorry to the players for how this has impacted them and the perception that it has created of me, which could not be further from the truth."

PHOTO: A Houston Texans fan holds a sign referring to Houston Texans owner Bob McNairs inmates comments before a game between the Houston Texans and Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on Oct. 29, 2017 in Seattle.Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images
A Houston Texans fan holds a sign referring to Houston Texans owner Bob McNair's "inmates" comments before a game between the Houston Texans and Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on Oct. 29, 2017 in Seattle.

On Saturday morning, he met with Texans players and expressed regret for the initial comment. One day earlier, Texans players considered a walkout from the team facility, and two players -- star wideout DeAndre Hopkins and backup running back D'Onta Foreman -- were listed as Did Not Practice-Not Injury Related on the injury report, absences that sources said were directly related to what McNair said.

Also Saturday, a coalition of NFL players extended an invitation to McNair, commissioner Roger Goodell and unsigned quarterback Colin Kaepernick to a Monday meeting in Philadelphia at which they hope to address players' "immediate concerns before additional progress can be made."

PHOTO: Houston Texans owner Bob McNair walks on the field at NRG Stadium on Oct. 1, 2017 in Houston.Bob Levey/Getty Images
Houston Texans owner Bob McNair walks on the field at NRG Stadium on Oct. 1, 2017 in Houston.

It was not immediately known if McNair, Goodell or Kaepernick would attend. A league spokesman had said earlier this week that Kaepernick was expected to be invited to the next meeting between NFL players and owners.

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