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Pro athletes react to team owner comparing them to ‘inmates’

FILE - In this May 22, 2017, file photo, Golden State Warriors' Draymond Green reacts to play against the San Antonio Spurs during Game 4 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, in San Antonio. Green has been sued by a couple who claim the player and his entourage bullied them and physically assaulted them last year. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

Eric Gay/Associated Press

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green called comments made by Houston Texans owner Bob McNair “Donald Sterling-esque,” referencing the former Los Angeles Clippers owner who was banned for life by the NBA for racist remarks.

On Friday, Seth Wickersham and Don Van Natta Jr. of ESPN.com reported McNair said “We can’t have the inmates running the prison,” during a meeting about national anthem protests. He later released a statement of apology. 

Green posted a response to the initial comments on Instagram:

“Wow! This sure does sound very Donald Sterling-esque. But I’m sure the fans pay to see him play and he’s putting himself at risk of CTE by going out there every Sunday and giving 110 percent! Inmates? For starters, let’s stop using the word owner and maybe use the word Chairman. To be owned by someone just sets a bad precedent to start. It’s sets the wrong tone. It gives one the wrong mindset. Webster states that an inmate is a person confined to an institution such as a prison or hospital. Not sure these tax paying men should be referred to as inmates- but what do I know?”

Other athletes have also spoken out about McNair’s choice of words from the private meeting.

“He gotta go,” longtime NFL running back Reggie Bush said.

“Remember we only hold our players (I meant prisoners) to a higher standard then the ones in charge!!” Tennessee Titans wide receiver Rishard Matthews tweeted.

New York Giants defensive lineman Damon Harrison also passed along his thoughts on social media:

Meanwhile, Seattle Seahawks defensive back Richard Sherman felt the remarks were revealing:

Devi Brown, wife of Texans offensive lineman Duane Brown, also reacted to the comments:

“I think the comments were disrespectful and ignorant,” Duane Brown added, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.

Here’s a look at other reactions from around the sports world:

Meanwhile, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported Texas wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins’ absence from Friday’s practice was “related” to McNair’s remarks. ESPN’s Sarah Barshop noted other members of the Houston roster wanted to leave the facility but were persuaded to stay.

The issue of protests has been brought back in the spotlight over the past month after President Donald Trump suggested NFL owners should fire players who don’t stand for the anthem.

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