“They’re not taking a knee because they’re against our flag. They’re taking a knee because they haven’t been treated equally in this country for over 400 years.”
Last Updated: 12/06/20 10:07pm
Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien says he will join any players who decide to kneel during the national anthem in the upcoming season.
The Texans organisation is among many throughout the NFL that have vowed to fight racism in the wake of the death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police on May 25.
The team’s ownership, the McNair family, has started a video series called “Conversations for Change” that is designed to address racism and social injustice.
O’Brien is adamant his players have the right to peacefully protest and he plans to join them in doing so.
“Yeah, I’ll take a knee – I’m all for it,” O’Brien told the Houston Chronicle.
“The players have a right to protest, a right to be heard and a right to be who they are. They’re not taking a knee because they’re against our flag. They’re taking a knee because they haven’t been treated equally in this country for over 400 years.”
O’Brien cancelled team activities on Tuesday so that staff and players could attend funeral services for Floyd in his native Houston. The coach attended, as did a group that included chairman Cal McNair and defensive end J.J. Watt.
“When you think about how big the issue is, if we can help make a little change in Houston, maybe it’ll be like a pebble in the pond that creates a ripple,” McNair told the Chronicle.
“What happened to George Floyd brought to life something that’s bigger than football, and you can’t ignore it. We felt like we couldn’t stay silent. We felt like we had to say and do something. We want to help make changes.
“This is the right thing to do, and I think our players recognize that. We want to support our players and our community. We’re all in this boat together.”