HOUSTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Houston Texans head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien said he plans to take a knee with players during the national anthem this football season.
O’Brien told the Houston Chronicle’s John McClain, “Yeah, I’ll take a knee — I’m all for it… 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 canceled virtual team activities for June 9 and instead encouraged players to go to the funeral for George Floyd who was killed when a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds.
Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, owner Cal McNair, offensive coordinator Tim Kelly, defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver and former Texans defensive tackle D.J. Reader were among those who joined O’Brien in attending the event.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was the first to take a knee during the anthem before a football game in 2016 as a protest against racial injustices and police brutality.
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said this week he regrets not signing Kaepernick in 2017.
Last week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement on Twitter saying, “We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People. We, the NFL, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter. #InspireChange”
We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People. We, the NFL, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter. #InspireChange pic.twitter.com/ENWQP8A0sv
— NFL (@NFL) June 5, 2020
Goodell announced Friday that the league will recognize Juneteenth on June 19 as a company holiday, with NFL offices closed on that day.