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Bill O'Brien says he'll take a knee with his protesting players

Bill O'Brien on Friday supported the idea of his players protesting systemic racism and police brutality this fall.

"Yeah, I'll take a knee -- I'm all for it," O'Brien said, per the Houston Chronicle. "The players have a right to protest, a right to be heard and a right to be who they are. They're not taking a knee because they're against our flag. They're taking a knee because they haven't been treated equally in this country for over 400 years."

O'Brien, the Houston Texans coach and general manager, has the backing of the McNair family, which owns the Texans and has helped the franchise make an impact in the movement. Quarterback Deshaun Watson and teammates joined the march for George Floyd in Houston on June 3. Cal McNair, the team chairman, explained the franchise's logic in taking action.

"When you think about how big the issue is, if we can help make a little change in Houston, maybe it'll be like a pebble in the pond that creates a ripple," McNair said. "What happened to George Floyd brought to life something that's bigger than football, and you can't ignore it. We felt like we couldn't stay silent. We felt like we had to say and do something. We want to help make changes.

"This is the right thing to do, and I think our players recognize that. We want to support our players and our community. We're all in this boat together."

Floyd was laid to rest in Houston Tuesday, more than two weeks after he was killed by a Minneapolis police officer. Several members of the organization, including O'Brien, were among those in attendance. O'Brien, who canceled team meetings this week so players could attend the funeral, expressed a desire to work together in solidarity for a better future.

"I've always felt strongly about racial injustice because I was brought up that way," O'Brien said. "I believe very strongly that white people have to stand with black people in our country.

"Black lives matter. Police brutality is part of it, obviously, but this is so much deeper than that. There are 800,000 policemen and policewomen in this country, and so many of them are trying to do what's right for their community.

"It's like what was said at George Floyd's funeral: It's about humanity coming together and treating each other as equals."

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