Texans' minority owner defends Bob McNair and players

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- When Houston Texans players took a knee during last Sunday's game in Seattle to send a message to owner Bob McNair, Javier Loya was in the stands watching.

"I didn't take it any more than when I see other teams also kneeling. That's their freedom of speech that's what they chose," said Loya, founder of Choice Energy and a Texans limited partner since 2002. "But I know once the game came on they're professionals and they played with a lot of heart."

Loya is one of nine limited partners, more commonly known as minority owners of the Texans franchise. When he read about McNair's use of the phrase "inmates running the prison," he knew it would be problematic.

"Mr. McNair's from the south, it's a southern phrase and I think he used a poor choice of words and he felt terrible as soon as he said it," Loya said.

Loya, a self-made energy broker, is quick to defend McNair. He says McNair has populated his front office with women, African Americans, as well as Latinos. In addition, Loya says McNair has long supported entrepreneurs like himself within the league.

"As a first generation Mexican-American, I'm very proud to be a U.S. citizen, and I know things aren't easy. There is racism, there are issues in the community, but I also know there are champions," he said.

Another limited partner reached by Eyewitness News shared similar thoughts about McNair, arguing his long history of community involvement should bare more weight in the court of public opinion.

Loya says he believes McNair and the Texans team will hold additional meetings and dialogue with the community. He says in today's political climate, no topic should be off the table for the NFL.

"I think when the President of the United States is a lightning rod and gets the topic going to discuss it."

The Texans public relations office said yesterday that McNair, who has already issued two statements, would not be commenting further on the controversy for now.

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