Stirring it up

Texans owner causes controversy with "inmates" comment

Texans owner causes controversy with "inmates" comment
Bob McNair used a poor choice of words and then apologized. Bob Levey/Getty Images

Houston Texans owner Bob McNair reportedly caused a stir at the recent NFL ownership meetings, referring to players kneeling during the national anthem by saying "we can't have the inmates running the prison."

The comments came during an owners-only meeting, although former player and Executive VP of football operations Troy Vincent was there and took offense to McNair's comments, reportedly setting off a heated debate.

According to the reports, McNair later apologized to Vincent.

The Texans released a statement regarding the comments on Friday:

“I regret that I used that expression. I never meant to offend anyone and I was not referring to our players,” McNair said. “I used a figure of speech that was never intended to be taken literally. I would never characterize our players or our league that way and I apologize to anyone who was offended by it.” 

While "inmates running the asylum" is a commonly used phrase, and McNair had some expectation of privacy considering where he said it, the phrase was at best a very poor choice of words considering what a hot-button topic this has been.

And McNair did apologize, but he also said he would never characterize the players or the league that way. But who else could he have been referring to? Several players were unhappy on Friday, and D'Andre Hopkins missed practice, so it instantly became an issue.

McNair is a decent man, and I believe there was no malice intended. He has been a very supportive, engaging and open owner. But considering the divisiveness of the issue, and how it has caused problems even among the players, McNair should have been much more careful in his choice of words. We will see if it blows over or if it becomes an issue that causes probems down the road, but McNair should have known better.

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With their closer revealed, here are the Astros top bullpen X-factors

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Espada revealed that newly-acquired free agent Josh Hader will be the team's closer and will pitch the ninth inning, with Ryan Pressly working as the setup man.

Bryan Abreu will be tapped to pitch the seventh inning, but it wouldn't shock anyone if he had the best season of the three. But after Abreu, things get interesting in the bullpen.

Who pitches the sixth inning?

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While we have our concerns about Montero after he finished with an ERA over five last year, there's reason for hope. The nature of relief pitchers halving up and down seasons from year to year could work in Montero's favor.

And with the salary that's already committed to him, Brown will likely give him every opportunity to justify his contract. It will be fascinating to see how Espada deploys him early on. You have to think with the boss man backing Montero, Espada will be on board too.

But if he does struggle, will Espada quickly stop using him in critical situations? The good news is, the team won't often have to turn to him in high leverage situations with Abreu, Pressly, and Hader ready to handle those duties.

Be sure to watch the video above for the full discussion about the Astros 'pen, and much more!

Don't miss Stone Cold 'Stros (an Astros podcast) every week on SportsMapHouston's YouTube channel!

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