After donating $100,000 of his own money and leading an effort to raise over $37,000,000 for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt was grouped into the category of , according to President Trump.  Despite giving his first game check – $27,353 – to three cafeteria workers who lost everything to Harvey also Texans quarterback DeShaun Watson was among those crudely referred to as “inmates running the prison” by his team’s owner Bob McNair during a recent NFL owner’s meetings, as reported by ESPN.

Houston Texans tackle Duane Brown was traded to Seattle following his comments calling out Texans owner Bob McNair. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

McNair apologized but the damage was done.

Despite fake solidarity expressions with their employees, the league’s 32 owners don’t respect their players.  No matter what color, what position you play, nor what contributions you make to your community, you are property and to keep your job you must fall in line and accept your place in silence or you’ll wind up like Colin Kaepernick, blackballed by the sport you love.

There has never been a moment in the history of the NFL that exposed its true colors the way McNair did.  An owner amongst his peers and NFL Executive Vice President Troy Vincent – who played 14 years at cornerback in the league –  had the audacity to disparage its most important group of employees with reckless disregard during these racially sensitive times in America.

Players must operate in a world of political correctness while owners – mostly who support Trump, including McNair who reportedly contributed to his inauguration– can be given passes on their lack of social insensitivity.  Cam Newton laughs at a female reporter during a press conference before answering a question, is immediately branded a sexist and instantly loses an endorsement deal.  McNair downplays his heinous remarks with a shallow apology to protect his relationship with corporate sponsors and nothing happens to him

On Nov. 1 John Schnatter, founder of Papa John’s Pizza, caused further controversy during an investor’s conference call. “The NFL has hurt us by not resolving the current debacle to the players’ and owners’ satisfaction,” he said. “NFL leadership has hurt Papa John’s shareholders.” Papa John’s is a long time advertiser on NFL games and uses former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning in many of its ads.

McNair’s slip of the tongue – which was supposed to remain behind closed doors – reflects the $40 million slave owner’s mentality of the gentlemen who steward the game.  In the comfort of their sanctuary, remarks often expose the character of those at the top of the food chain. This was by no means a mistake.

The Texans also made the unprecedented move of trading their all-Pro offensive tackle Duane Brown, who had been outspoken about the right to kneel. After calling McNair’s comments “disrespectful”, “ignorant”, and “embarrassing” when speaking on behalf of the players, Brown was sent to Seattle for veteran cornerback Jeremy Lane, a fifth-round draft pick in 2018, and a second-round pick in 2019 one day before the NFL trade deadline.

This is a chance for the players to unify the court of public opinion. Both sides of the locker room can agree that when owners take shots at Black players it’s a blow to all of them. They need a diverse group who can take their message to the masses.