Troy Vincent—the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations—played a key role in bringing players and owners together to discuss and hash out their differences over players’ protests against inequality and police violence during the pregame national anthem.
San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid has been one of the most consistent and vocal supporters of the pregame demonstrations initiated by former teammate Colin Kaepernick. He has knelt during the anthem at every game this season.
ESPN recently did an extensive exposé of the Oct. 17 meeting between NFL players and team owners in New York City. The piece revealed a number of interesting details, including how Vincent tried to keep Reid from coming to the conference. According to the article:
NFL executive Troy Vincent, who cared deeply about the players’ concerns but had little patience for the protests, called San Francisco 49ers GM John Lynch the Saturday before the meeting. He told him that if safety Eric Reid, one of the most ardent protesters, knelt the next day, he shouldn’t “bother to show up” at the players-owners meeting because nobody would take him seriously, according to people briefed on the call. Reid knelt anyway. And he intended to show up.
The story also showed how wide and gaping an asshole Jerry Jones turned out to be, characterizing the Dallas Cowboys owner as a dictator who walked into the owners-only “special privileged session” (no, that’s actually what they called it) expecting to automatically get his way by forcing the players to stand. As far as the owners were concerned, they were there to “persuade all the players to stand for the anthem,” so they initially balked at an action plan to reach out to lobbyists and use the NFL platform to promote players’ causes at the state and federal levels, according to ESPN.
Things were reportedly going well until Houston Texans owner and Trump supporter Bob McNair spoke up. “We can’t have the inmates running the prison,” he said, white supremacistly.
Upon hearing it, Vincent allegedly stood up and said that he was offended by McNair’s statement, adding that he had been called many things during his playing years, including the n-word, but he never felt like an “inmate.”
Perhaps one hidden anecdote about the conference sums up the entire tenor of the summit. There was a point when former NFL wide receiver Anquan Boldin told a story about his cousin being shot by police. Buffalo Bills owner Terry Pagula was so moved by Boldin’s story, he said he thought that Boldin would be the perfect spokesperson to serve as the public face for tackling issues of injustice and inequality. He commented on how impressive it was that Boldin walked away from the NFL to pursue issues of social justice. He just raved about his new friend who opened his eyes to social injustice ...
Except he kept calling him “Antwan.”
Read more at ESPN.