The Houston Texans are reportedly operating under an unspoken and unwritten rule, when evaluating potential free agents this offseason. That unofficial rule appears to be: If he took a knee, he can’t be a Texan.
According to the Houston Chronicle’s Jerome Solomon, “There is no directive within the organization, but it is considered to be understood that as desperate as the Texans are to bring in talent, the pool of potential signees and draftees will not include anyone who has participated in protests or are likely to.”
Solomon’s report, originally posted on Saturday, is based on information he received from two NFL agents who claim to be familiar with the organization’s “directive.”
The report is particularly relevant considering that Colin Kaepernick has filed a grievance against the league, alleging that NFL owners colluded to keep him out of the league. Texans Owner Bob McNair is one of the three NFL owners listed on Kaepernick’s deposition list.
According to Bleacher Report:
McNair came under fire last October when he said the league and owners ‘can’t have the inmates running the prison,’ referencing the ongoing anthem protests, per ESPN’s Seth Wickersham and Don Van Natta Jr.
McNair subsequently apologized and said in a statement he ‘never meant to offend anyone’ and ‘was not referring to our players.’
Former Texans offensive tackle Duane Brown, who Houston traded to the Seattle Seahawks in the middle of the 2017 season, told Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio he felt abandoned by the team after he knelt during the anthem.
‘I protested [during the national anthem] last year, and there was no backing of my character as a man as a leader or a player,” Brown said. ‘There was nothing said by [McNair] or the organization to back me at all. They just kind of sent me to the wolves.’
It’s unclear which “wolves” Brown was sent to. The tackle had been a holdout for weeks over a contract dispute. The Texans eventually traded Brown to the Seahawks, at which point his outspoken political activism seemed to simmer down significantly. Strongly suggesting that Brown’s motivation in lashing out against McNair was at least as much to engineer a trade, as it was to protest.
It’s also unclear if the Texans unspoken policy in not hiring former or likely protesters, would constitute collusion. If the Texans truly have such a policy, it would seem they have every right to pursue it on their own. The policy likely wouldn’t rise to the level of collusion, unless the Texans reached out to other teams and tried to get them to do the same thing.
Though, with Kaepernick’s suit still very much alive, it’s likely we will find out.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn