Oct. 31 (UPI) — Houston Texans star Jadeveon Clowney wore an inmate costume for Halloween, weeks after Bob McNair made comments comparing the NFL to a prison.
Clowney wore an orange jumpsuit at a Houston-area party. Deshaun Watson, Kareem Jackson, Alfred Blue and Bruce Ellington also attended the celebration, according to TMZ Sports.
Clowney said he was not taking a “shot” at McNair with the costume choice.
“[There] was no hidden meaning behind his Halloween costume,” Texans senior director of communications Amy Palcic told the Houston Chronicle. “He was not taking a ‘shot’ at anyone. It was just that – a costume at a Halloween party.”
The Houston Texans owner made the comments at a meeting of NFL owners on Oct. 18, responding to players kneeling during the national anthem before football games.
“We can’t have the inmates running the prison,” McNair said, according to ESPN.
After the comments, about 10 Texans players stood with their hands over their hearts while others knelt on the ground during the national anthem before a 41-38 loss to the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.
“I regret that I used that expression,” he said. “I never meant to offend anyone and I was not referring to our players. I used a figure of speech that was never intended to be taken literally. I would never characterize our players or our league that way and I apologize to anyone who was offended by it.”
Houston Texans owner Bob McNair has apologized for his controversial comments regarding players protesting the national anthem. File photo by Aaron M. Sprecher/UPI
He released another statement on Saturday, after meeting with the players.
“As I said yesterday, I was not referring to our players when I made a very regretful comment during the owners meetings last week. I was referring to the relationship between the league office and team owners and how they have been making significant strategic decisions affecting our league without adequate input from ownership over the past few years.
I am truly sorry to the players for how this has impacted them and the perception that it has created of me which could not be further from the truth. Our focus going forward, 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.”
Texans coach Bill O’Brien told reporters he was “100 percent” with his players when asked about the situation.
Clowney, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, has a team-leading four sacks this season. He has 23 tackles, three fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles, two pbades defensed and a touchdown in seven starts this season. Clowney made his first Pro Bowl in 2016.
McNair has been the Texans’ chairman and CEO since 2002.