Houston Texans owner Bob McNair (Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)

The owner of the Houston Texans, Bob McNair, gave a public apology Friday after referring to NFL players protesting police brutality and racial oppression as “inmates running the prison” during an owners meeting last week.

During the meeting, McNair quipped, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison.”

Advertisement

And pretty much, there it all is, in case you were really wondering what might be going through the minds of people like McNair. NFL players standing up for their rights? Some sort of “prison” takeover, apparently.

“I regret that I used that expression,” McNair said in a statement, according to ESPN. “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.”

ESPN noted that McNair made his comments while other owners were discussing the business concerns surrounding the protests at an Oct. 18 meeting, a day after many owners and players met to discuss social reform.

Advertisement

NFL executive Troy Vincent told McNair that he was offended by the comparison of players to “inmates,” saying that in all of his years playing in the NFL—even facing horrific name-calling, which included the n-word—he had never felt like an “inmate.”

McNair personally apologized to Vincent, pulling him aside and apparently explaining that the words were not meant to be taken literally.

Read more at ESPN.