Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson expects uncomfortable conversations at training camp after the May 25 death of George Floyd sparked protests and activism that he, some of his teammates and others around the NFL joined.
The team has not been together in person since last season because of the pandemic, and so much has changed since then.
“It’s going to be different,” Watson said on a YouTube Live session with Carmelo Anthony on Monday, via WFNZ. “I honestly, right now, today couldn’t tell you exactly how it’s going to be, but it’s definitely going to be a lot of tests for a lot of people, especially for the white teammates. The majority of the players in the NFL are black guys. So for people to walk in that locker room, and the majority of that locker room is black, are the white guys tagging along? Are the coaching staff tagging along? I know coach [Bill] O’Brien already said he’s going to tag along. I know he’s going to take a knee and he said he’s going to support us, regardless of what we say.”
O’Brien became the first — and so far the only — head coach to commit to kneeling with players during the national anthem.
Watson has spoken with O’Brien and executive vice president of football operations Jack Easterby about social issues. The quarterback expects Texans chairman and CEO Cal McNair to address the team when training camp opens.
“I know whenever we report to camp everyone in that locker room is expecting the owner on day one to come and talk to us and communicate with us, ask us questions, let them know that he’s supporting us, supporting his players,” Watson said. “And if not, there’s gonna be some issues, for sure.”