There has been significant backlash following a controversial statement by Houston Texans’ coach Bob McNair at an NFL owners meeting.
According to The Houston Chronicle, Reverend Jesse Jackson made a disturbing claim that McNair and other coaches have a “plantation mentality” regarding their players. He stated, “They really should make the minutes of that meeting public. I understand there were some other things said that were just as bad from other owners. They have kind of a plantation mentality. The players are objectified in some sense. Mr. McNair is a product of the South. They act like he’s a victim or misunderstood, but those players have made him a wealthy man.”
According to CBS Sports, McNair landed himself in hot water during an NFL owners meeting in October. During a discussion about whether a policy should be implemented by the NFL to obligate players to stand for the national anthem, McNair advocated for such a policy saying, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison.”
This resulted in a massive backlash from many who took his words literally, including many of his own players. Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins failed to show up to practice with claims that he did so to protest McNair’s comments.
McNair issued a public apology, saying, “I regret that I used that expression. I never meant to offend anyone and I was not referring to our players. 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.”
Regarding the apology, Rev. Jackson said, “Mr. McNair said he’s sorry, but he also said what he said in an uninhibited way when he’s in a private meeting with the other owners. There should be some kind of sanctions. Other owners heard him talk that way and they shouldn’t condone that kind of talk.”
Rev. Jackson went on to say that not only was he in support of the protests, but he feels they should take it one step further, “The players should escalate their nonviolent protests. Trump called them ‘sons of b*****s.’ Kaepernick is not degrading the flag. He’s kneeling to pray, which is in our best tradition. If we had not knelt and prayed nonviolently, where would be today as a society?”
Many fans and patriotic Americans disagree with Rev. Jackson’s belief that the protests are non-offensive.
Considering the national anthem is a symbolic event meant to serve as a reminder of the sacrifices made by the nation’s military, and standing at attention with hand over heart is done out of respect, kneeling at that moment is clearly a sign of disrespect.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson has been known to advance unique views when promoting protest. Is Jesse Jackson taking this out of proportion?
Expressions and analogies are frequently used in communication, and it is generally understood that they aren’t meant to be taken literally on their face.
While McNair may have made a poor choice in words with his statement, taking the use of a commonly used phrase literally and judging the man for it is incredibly inappropriate, and many would say politically self-serving in nature.
Rev. Jackson’s statement of some owners’ “plantation mentality” could well be seen as part of the dividing bigotry that’s further deepening escalates the issue. Such a statement does nothing to solve the problem and only serves to cause offense.