“McNair Don’t Care!” Hundreds Attend City Wide Rally For Justice at NRG Stadium
ABOVE: Hundreds gather in solidarity to send strong message to Houston Texans owner Bob McNair during #HoustonStands
As the Houston Texans played their latest home game against the Arizona Cardinals this past Sunday, loud chants of “McNair Don’t Care,” “We Stand With Kaepernick” and “Houston Stands” echoed across the street from NRG Stadium in protest to Texans owner Bob McNair’s divisive and demeaning comments regarding NFL players who are protesting.
This past Sunday, three chartered buses and a sea of hundreds of community activists, organizations, little league football teams, elders, youth, churches, elected officials and fedup Houstonians descended upon NRG Stadium to send a strong message to McNair, and to the National Football League, demanding that McNair be held accountable for his comments, as well as challenging him to publicly come out and state whether he supports the rights of NFL players to silently and peacefully protest.
It is no secret that the City of Houston and the Houston Texans have been in the national spotlight at the center of the NFL controversy concerning NFL players’ right to address social issues by way of peaceful and silent protest, and McNair poured gasoline on the flames when he compared the protests to “inmates taking over the prison.”
Community activist Deric Muhammad, who said McNair not only embarrassed himself, but the city of Houston and the Texans’ organization, called for McNair to step down as owner of the Texans and also challenged everyone to better understand what the rally was all about.
“We stand in solidarity with embattled humanitarian Colin Kaepernick who has been ‘banned’ from the National Football League for taking a stand against injustice and oppression in America,” said Muhammad. “We stand in support of the NFL players’ freedom to exercise their constitutional right to peacefully protest without being censured or ‘Kaepernicked,’ and we stand in an effort to send a strong message to our youth that racism, bigotry and overt discrimination will not be tolerated. “Colin Kaepernick was not ‘whiteballed’ for what he did. He was ‘whiteballed’ for who he did it for — Black Lives. If you say you would have stood with Muhammad Ali in the 1960’s but aren’t standing for Colin right now you are a liar. We had to take bus loads to NRG Stadium to send a message to our youth that we are not delusional liars.”
Pastor E.A. Deckard of Greenhouse International Church in Houston, who helped charter one of the buses from the north side of Houston, wanted to send a message of unity in order to bring much needed attention to the systemic injustices that poison America’s criminal justice system and to stand against police misconduct, racial profiling, mass incarceration, unjust drug laws and every sickening injustice that inspired Colin Kaepernick to take a knee during the national anthem in the first place.
“After the rally, I took the youth from my church to lunch and asked them to each stand and tell me their thoughts on the rally and the fact each of them expressed something meaningful made the day a total success,” said Deckard. “The protest rally was a powerful event because we stood and took a knee for what we believe in. The true litmus test of a man’s faith is whether he will do the right thing, simply because it’s the right thing to do, regardless of the consequences he may face. Our young people are not future inmates, but are future doctors, lawyers, mayors, governors, business owners, football players and team owners. We stand on the side of right!”
State Rep. Ron Reynolds expressed his commitment to continue fighting for justice and equality, along with those seeking it.
“I was proud to join the hundreds of people who participated in this City Wide Rally for Justice during halftime of the Texans game,” said Reynolds. “We stood for Colin Kaepernick as he has stood for us to show solidarity for the inequality, injustice and police brutality that has been displayed against people of color. We will NOT back down until we dismantle this criminal justice system and we will continue to speak truth to power.”
Missouri City Councilmember Jeffrey L. Boney challenged McNair to publicly declare whether he supports the rights of NFL players to protest during the national anthem, as well as highlighted many of the questionable actions of McNair since putting out his second apology statement, where he stated that his “focus going forward, both personally and as an organization, will be towards making meaningful progress regarding the social issues that mean so much to our players and our community.”
“Mr. McNair, what does that actually mean,” questioned Boney. “Why haven’t we heard from you directly, Mr. McNair, about whether you support NFL players’ right to protest? We may not have heard from you directly with your words Mr. McNair, but we have seen your actions since your written apology statements.
Boney pointed out that since McNair issued his apologies, that star player Duane Brown, who has been protesting since last year, was abruptly traded to the Seattle Seahawks; rookie running back D’Onta Foreman, was a healthy scratch and was benched, the game after he and franchise wide receiver Deandre Hopkins chose to leave practice in protest; and after their star quarterback, Deshaun Watson, got injured, the Texans refused to bring Kaepernick in for a tryout.
Texas Organizing Project’s Harris County Director Tarsha Jackson, who helped charter the other two buses, spoke about the need for criminal justice reform and how it is impacting people of color more than any other group. Jackson shared her personal life story of how her 10-year-old son became a victim of the pipeline-to-prison epidemic and had his life ruined because of a faulty criminal justice system. For Jackson, having McNair and other influential people, focus on the merits of why Kaepernick began taking a knee, is something worth rallying about.
Kathy Blueford Daniels, who was a Texans season ticket owner before choosing to support Kaepernick and boycott the NFL, believes this is reminiscent of the days of the Civil Rights movement.
“It’s sad that in 2017, we are STILL protesting for judicial equality,” said Blueford Daniels. “I refuse to support an entity who would attack their own players who are peacefully protesting, but say nothing when the current president of the United States would call the mothers of those NFL players, ‘sons of b*tches’. It’s just not right and I stand with Kaepernick and all those who choose to stand against racism and injustice.”
Houston hip-hop icon K-Rino spoke on behalf of the hip-hop community and committed to stand in solidarity with the effort and promised that the community should expect more music to hit the streets that are aligned with the movement that Kaepernick has started.
Deric Muhammad issued a strong statement and show of support to current NFL players, challenging them to understand the power and leverage they possess.
“NFL players must unite and make a power move,” said Muhammad. “The NFL can no longer stand for ‘Negroes for Lease’. They don’t mind you getting a concussion, but they don’t want you to become conscious. You must make a stronger connection with your community. We will back you when you make your power move.”
After remarks were given, a powerful demonstration of solidarity was displayed, as organizers and attendees took to the streets and marched down Kirby, while holding their signs and continuing their chants as tailgaters, fans, curious observers and members of the Houston Police Department looked on.
The march ended with everyone taking a knee at the corner of Kirby and McNee, and offering up a prayer to God for a resolution to the issues people of color are facing in America.