Houston, TX – A National Football League player who signed an $81 million contract in 2017 said his team owner’s comment opposing the National Anthem protests made him feel “like a slave.”
Houston Texans’ wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins made the comments in a story published by GQ Magazine.
Hopkins was described by the magazine as a supporter of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Hopkins has taken a knee during the National Anthem, according to GQ Magazine.
His comment about feeling like a slave was in reference to then Houston Texans owner Bob McNair saying, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison” in reference to anti-police protests in 2017.
“It feels like I'm a slave again. Listen to the master, go to work,” Hopkins told GQ Magazine. “We realize now what goes on above us. You can't sugarcoat that.”
“Hell yeah, I was about to sit out the game,” Hopkins said, according to GQ Magazine, “But I definitely wasn’t going to practice. A couple of my teammates about to follow me, but they called them back up to the stadium. They tried calling me, but I wasn't going back. Hell no. … It's hard for people to understand what that means, when your family was slaves. You can't relate to something like that if your great-uncle's not telling you stories about their parents or their grandparents and what they went through. Not even too long ago, people couldn't even drink out of the same water faucet.”
Hopkins signed a five-year, $81 million deal in 2017, according to the Houston Chronicle. Hopkins will earn $12.5 million this season.
Hopkins has played six seasons in the NFL and has made three Pro Bowl teams. He has 528 career receptions for 7,437 yards and has scored 47 touchdowns. He played college football at Clemson and was a first-round draft pick of the Texans in the 2013 draft.