McNair finds himself in a public relations firestorm over comments he made during a recent NFL owners meeting that “we can’t have the inmates running the prison,” according to an ESPN report.
McNair has apologized for the comments, but a majority of his players kneeled during the national anthem of Sunday’s Texans-Seattle Seahawks game.
“Bob is one of the absolute most admired people as far as the ownership there is in the NFL,” Jones said on his 105.3 The Fan radio show Tuesday. “I know what Bob’s stature is in Houston. He brought football back to Houston. It’s so unfortunate that he’s had this happen for him, but he’s really a guy that has a lot of influence and I admire him greatly.
“I heard him and he did not and was not talking about the players.”
The remarks, though, further stirred controversy in how the league is dealing with the player protests during the national anthem. Jones said McNair’s comments does not make it tougher for him to enforce his organization’s policy of benching players who protest during the anthem.
“I think this, Bob’s comments as it relates to the Houston Texans are within that sphere, that does not impact, in my mind, what we do with our team,” Jones said. “I think that’s the way it is across the board. It makes everybody think and reflect on your own situation, your own team’s situation, no matter what part of the team you are. I look at it like that.”
Jones went on to praise McNair about how he handled the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey with his team. The Texans and Cowboys canceled their preseason finale so the Texans players could return to Houston to tend to their families and community.
Jones said McNair had no problem paying whatever it cost for the lost revenue from the game.
“Bob was absolutely a hero when we had our game, our preseason game, and, boy, the players all wanted to go home, which they should and was natural,” Jones said. “Bob says, ‘I don’t care what it cost. I’ll pay it. My players want to go home. I want them to go home to Houston.’
“I can’t tell you how magnanimous he is. He’s one of the really great benefactors to Houston and to anybody who’s been around him. This is really unfortunate the way it came out. He’s the first to tell you that he misused words, but so unfortunate because he’s a high quality individual.”