Texans 180 on social justice: What it could mean for their future
The Texans have been notoriously conservative throughout their history. The term "Texan worthy" was attributed to their penchant for drafting and/or signing players who fit their Boy Scout mold. That outlook led to one of the team's most controversial moments. October 2017: Bob McNair was caught saying "We can't have inmates running the prison" referring to players taking a knee in protest of the National Anthem. This was also after his negative comments about President Obama being elected in 2008. Both rubbed players the wrong way. Both gave this organization a bad rep in players' eyes. Both could've set them back. Luckily, neither caused irreparable damage.
Flash forward to the events surrounding George Floyd's death, and it seems as if this once socially conservative franchise has done a complete 180-degree turn. Not only did Bill O'Brien and Cal McNair each make statements, but Cal also hosted former Texans' player Travis Johnson in a roundtable discussion with his wife Hannah and mom Janice about race relations. This was the first episode in what's titled "Conversations For Change." Things like this will go a long way. Here's how I think it could help:
Cover-up for past transgressions
If any of you have had a bad tattoo, you know what it's like. It doesn't look right. You feel like an idiot, and wish it wasn't there. However, the cover-up tattoo is better than the original in most cases. Bob McNair's comments sort of passed away when he did. When O'Brien started making personnel moves based off personality, most notably the DeAndre Hopkins deal, it looked as if things were status quo as far as having "Texans worthy" players. Given their signings and trades for players who actively work towards and protest social injustice, this could be one of the better cover-up tattoo jobs I've seen recently.
Help keep Deshaun Watson
Deshaun Watson is so critical to this franchise's future. He now has them bent over a tree stump and ready to take it when it comes to him resigning his contract extension. Is he going to sign a mega deal? Yes. Will the recent events and how the franchise reacted to it have some influence? Possibly. I think Watson will take this into consideration, but it won't have a major impact on how his deal is structured. If anything, it'll sway things slightly and get him to the table sooner.
Future draft picks and free agents
The fact that O'Brien said he's talked to Kenny Stills (long time kneeling protester), Michael Thomas (newly signed protester), and others about the recent events gives him some leeway when it comes to player relations. Given his past transgressions, as well as this franchise's, this will go a long way towards endearing himself to future acquisitions. Guys will know they're coming into a franchise that will support their freedom to express themselves and continue to support their ideals after their careers are over given the platform the McNairs created with Travis Johnson in the "Conversations For Change" series.\
Honestly, as a black man with two teenage kids, this makes me feel as if the upper crust of society actually cares and will do something to help spur on change. O'Brien's honesty from the heart was refreshing. Cal's statement seemed more scripted, but the episode he, his wife, and mom recorded with Johnson felt more real and raw. The Texans have taken a more proactive approach. I don't recall too many other NFL owners taking this type of approach in recent weeks, which given previous history, has made what the Texans are doing very much appreciated. I can't wait to see how this plays out in the near future.
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