McNair Regrets Apologizing For ‘Inmates Running The Prison’ Comment

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The NFL owner's controversial statements sparked outrage from players last year, especially from tackle Duane Brown, who was traded to the Seattle Seahawks.

Houston Texans owner Bob McNair has recalculated his apology for making a controversial statement, which seemed to compare NFL players to "inmates running the prison" last October. 

McNair made the original comment during a meeting with other NFL bigwigs to discuss players' demonstrations during the national anthem. He immediately apologized, insisting that the "inmates" he referred to were the league executives, not the players. 

Other people present in the room at the time disputed his claim about that and seem to think he definitely meant it aimed at the players. 

Now, he seems to be changing his tune slightly, doubling down on saying it was not aimed at the players, and that he shouldn't have apologized. 

"The main thing I regret is apologizing," he said to The Wall Street Journal

“I really didn’t have anything to apologize for," McNair added. "We were talking about a number of things, but we were also washing some of our dirty linen, which you do internally. You don’t do that publicly. That’s what I was addressing: The relationship of owners and the league office. In business, it’s a common expression. But the general public doesn’t understand it, perhaps.” 

The common expression McNair was likely referring to was the idiom, "the inmates are running the asylum." 

The truth is: It's probably impossible to know whether McNair's "inmates" comment was directed at the executives or at the NFL players. That would require being able to see inside McNair's mind the moment he made the comment. 

What's sure is that a lot of Houston Texans players interpreted it as offensive, including offensive tackle Duane Brown, whose departure from the team seems to be directly linked to the fallout from the comment. 

Even as the NFL moves forward amid the national anthem protest controversy, McNair remains a controversial figure. 

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