Texans sends mixed signals on Duane Brown

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On Thursday night, Texans tackle Duane Brown raised a fist during the national anthem, two days after tweeting, “I hope I see the same amount of outrage on here for this killing of an unarmed American citizen as I do for someone kneeling.”

On Friday, Texans coach Bill O’Brien opened his day-after-shutout press conference with a statement regarding  Brown that seemed to be heading in one direction, but that then took a hard turn.

“I’m going to start off just talking about Duane Brown and the national anthem,” O’Brien said, via comments distributed by the team. “We’ve been clear as an organization that our expectation for the Houston Texans is that we stand for the national anthem. This team has a long history of supporting our veterans, active military and our first responders. This support has been evident since the inception of the franchise.”

Those first four sentences created the impression that the Texans weren’t happy with Brown for his gesture. Then came the jerking of the wheel.

“I understand that there is a lot going on in this country right now and that we all have strong opinions about it,” O’Brien said. “Duane Brown expressed himself during the anthem, which is his right. It is his right of free speech. It’s his right to do what he did during the anthem last night. I support his individual right to do that.”

O’Brien later was asked whether he has spoken to Brown about the situation, and whether O’Brien is concerned other players will join in the protest.

“I have spoken to Duane about it,” O’Brien said. “Again, I would tell you that I’m not concerned at all about what our players are going to do as it relates to that. Again, I think it’s their right to express their opinion. I support that right. As an organization, we encourage them to stand for the national anthem because of all the things I just said that Mr. McNair and the Texans stand for. With that, I will tell you that I think very highly of all of our players. I know that they’re very thoughtful guys and they’ll do what they believe is right.”

On one hand, O’Brien conveyed the Texans’ position that the organization wraps itself in the flag. On the other hand, O’Brien made it clear that he believes players can do whatever they want, notwithstanding the “expectation” from the organization that they will stand at attention. The somewhat mixed signals likely reflect the tension O’Brien feels as the employee of an owner who likely believes, similar to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, that it is “really disappointing” when players don’t stand at attention for the anthem and as the head coach of a team consisting of at least one key player who currently refuses to do so, given other issues currently unfolding in our nation.

The broader question is whether McNair will speak with equal care and tact, if and when he’s questioned on the subject. Chances are that won’t happen until next Sunday, when the Titans comes to town for a Week Four game.

9 responses to “Texans sends mixed signals on Duane Brown

  1. I didn’t get any mixed signals. O’Brien said the organization’s expectation is that the team stands for the National Anthem. Brown stood. O’Brien was fine with Brown expressing himself as long as he stood for the National Anthem. What’s not to understand here?

  2. Duane wants us to be outraged over the killing of Terrence Crutcher, a man who was disobeying a police order and would not lay on the ground and walked from the officer, according to reports.

    Or maybe be outraged over the killing of Keith Scott in Charlotte, a man who was armed with a handgun and refused to drop the handgun as instructed by police, according to reports.

    I have trouble seeing his point of view when he is not outraged at people like Rodney Sanders who stabbed two nuns to death over a simple break in. Or guys like Lawrence Hines and Malik Mayer who travel the country robbing and killing as they go. (Murder in Atlanta, robbery in Chicago. ) Or maybe the 3 men (Larry Taylor, Jalen Watson, Diano Gordon) who murdered Amanda Blackburn, a pregnant pastors wife during a break in.

    None of these stories generated much a push from the “unbiased” media, but they are all stories that can tell a different side of the story.

    Most of the time, when I think of a police officer, I think of person dedicating their life to defending people from the evil that is present in our society for little paychecks and even less gratitude. Maybe if Duane did a little research on the issue and not blindly believe what the media was deciding to feed him, he might get a little perspective on the issue and maybe take the edge off his outrage.

  3. This country was founded on protests. Let him do what he wants and stop complaining about it. Raising your fists in the air may signal good intentions and raise awareness, but do something about it. Donate to a cause or even volunteer. I don’t understand both sides of the fence. Those that are hating are taking it too far and the players raising their fists or kneeling down are really not doing too much either. Actions prove louder than words Doug Baldwin.

  4. I’m confused. The NFL doesn’t require players to stand, so players are taking a knee in peaceful protest. Why are we still talking so much about kneeling and not about the perceived problems?

  5. Considering the beat down they took last night, I’m surprised they can get ANY signals right. They sure couldn’t during the game.

  6. What happened South Carolina was unfortunate, but the guy had a gun and it is understandable. What happened in Tulsa is not. Just because the man didn’t lay down doesn’t mean he is a threat worth killing. Not with his hands up. Not unarmed. That was a cop that got scared and killed someone. That person shouldn’t have been a cop in the first place if they can’t handle a tense situation. People on here keep bringing up the killing in Charlotte, but this movement started before that unfortunate incident. Let’s not forget that. Just because they are still protesting doesn’t mean they are doing it because of Charlotte, they are doing it because it is still an important issue that hasn’t been addressed the way it needs to be.

  7. Love how the NFL lets these guys get away w/ the Black Power salute. Can’t wait for a white guy to raise his fist for White Power and see the hypocrisy of the NFL begin.

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