HOUSTON (SPORTSRADIO 610) — Whatever individual players think about the National Anthem, the Houston Texans have, organizationally, gone on the record about it
“Our organization believes strongly in the National Anthem, and standing for the National Anthem,” head coach Bill O’Brien said after Monday’s training camp practice.
It’s unclear whether the team has a rule against demonstrating during the anthem, as has become common around the NFL.
While Colin Kaepernick, the first NFL player to protest during the anthem, remains unsigned, a number of other high-profile players have started or continued doing so, including Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch and Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, who knelt before games this preseason.
Several prominent Cleveland Browns players knelt before their preseason game against the New York Giants, including first round rookie Jabrill Peppers and linebacker Jamie Collins.
Controversy has followed players who’ve chosen to sit or kneel during the anthem, but raising a fist, as many other players have, has seemed to create less charged of a reaction.
Duane Brown, whose contract holdout continued on Monday, was one of them. The only known Texans player to gesture during the anthem last season, Brown held up a fist before a few games.
O’Brien, who grew up outside of Boston in the 1970s and 1980s, said he was raised to empathize with people of all backgrounds.
“I believe in everyone’s right to free speech,” O’Brien said. “I do think that there’s a separation between politics in football. In the end, it’s about lining up and trying to win the game. But I grew in a family that made sure we all understood the rights of people. To never look at the color of another man’s skin, but to see what was in that man’s heart, that woman’s heart. To find out what it meant to trust somebody. Were they loyal? Were they good people. It had nothing to do with what they look like.
“At the same time, this organization believes strongly in the National Anthem, and standing for the National Anthem, and we’ll see how it goes from there.”