An ESPN report of the recent meetings in New York City between NFL owners and players over the national anthem protests includes an anecdote of an awkward moment that involved Buffalo Bills owner Terry Pegula and Anquan Boldin.
The report, by Seth Wickersham and Don Van Natta Jr., details the interactions between 11 NFL team owners and a group of 12 players, one former player and three union leaders the morning of Oct. 17 at the NFL's Park Avenue headquarters.
Here is the excerpt involving Pegula and Boldin.
The meeting was going so well that even the unintentionally awkward moments were forgiven. At one point, Buffalo Bills co-owner Terry Pegula, moved by Anquan Boldin's story about his cousin being shot and killed by a police officer, complimented him on how impressive he was but kept calling him "Antwan." Then Pegula suggested that Boldin would be the perfect NFL spokesman on social issues not only because he had walked away from the game to pursue causes but because, the owner said, it couldn't be a "white owner but needs to be someone who's black."
Some people quickly glanced at one another; others looked down, cringing. But the discussion resumed, and soon the session was running so long -- by 90 minutes -- that nobody knew how to end it.
Pegula and Boldin are said to have hugged at the meeting, and Pegula expressed utmost respect for Boldin's decision to leave the game to devote time to an important cause.
The ESPN report also produced another anecdote that is circulating widely on social media, in which Houston Texans owner Bob McNair told a separate meeting of NFL owners and team executives, "We can't have the inmates running the prison."
McNair released a statement apologizing for the remark.
Statement from Texans Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert C. McNair: pic.twitter.com/EXdwKZ4y4x
— Texans PR (@TexansPR) October 27, 2017