Stirring it up

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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Houston dropped two of three

Astros drop series finale to Oakland, A's win series

Jose Urquidy couldn't hold Oakland back on Saturday. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

With Oakland finally ending their drought against the Astros on Friday night to split the first two games of the series, and with the Angels staying in step with them as both teams started the day 6-2, the Astros needed a win to keep momentum in their favor on Saturday.

Instead, Oakland would outslug Houston once again to take the series finale and take the series win. The loss moves Houston to 6-3 and down to second place, at least for now, until the 6-2 Angels complete their game on Saturday evening.

Final Score: A's 7, Astros 3

Astros' Record: 6-3, second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Frankie Montas (1-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (0-1)

Urquidy gives up four over six

Much like the night before, Oakland was able to bring in runs against Houston's starter, this time Jose Urquidy, Saturday afternoon in their second time through the order. Their first time through, Urquidy was cruising, allowing just one baserunner in the first three innings on a single in the top of the third.

Things shifted in the top of the fourth, with the A's getting back-to-back singles to set the stage for a two-run frame with dual RBI-singles to take a 2-0 lead. Oakland doubled that in the fifth, getting a two-out single to set up a two-run homer by Ramon Laureano to make it 4-0. Urquidy would go on to finish six innings, but with no run support to that point, would leave in line for the loss. His final line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 93 P.

A's pad their lead before Houston gets on the board

Meanwhile, although getting five hits, the Astros could not get anything on the board against Frankie Montas through six innings. Brandon Bielak took over out of the bullpen for Urquidy in the top of the seventh, but after loading the bases, he would allow a dagger two-RBI single to make it a 6-0 deficit for Houston.

With Montas starting the seventh looking to face a batter or two before Oakland moved to their bullpen, Kyle Tucker would finally get Houston on the board with a leadoff solo home run, cutting the lead to 6-1 and ending Montas' day. Houston would get a two-out rally going, with an RBI-double by Jose Altuve followed by an RBI-triple by Michael Brantley to make it a three-run game at 6-3.

Oakland takes the series win

Ryne Stanek tried to keep it a three-run game and give the Astros a chance to stay in it in the top of the eighth but instead would give up a two-out solo home run to push Oakland's lead back to four. That 7-3 score would go final as Houston would go scoreless in the eighth and ninth.

Up Next: Houston will have a day off on Sunday before continuing this homestand Monday night by welcoming in Detroit and former manager A.J. Hinch for three games. In the series opener, the Tigers will send young star Casey Mize (0-0, 2.25 ERA) to the mound, while the Astros will get another start by Zack Greinke (1-0, 1.38 ERA).

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