The Houston Texans are on the brink of becoming a formidable playoff team for years to come, thanks in large part to their breakout quarterback, Deshaun Watson. And with the Texans entering the free agency period of the NFL offseason, the team will look to improve on its weaknesses by getting some high-profile free agents to sign on the dotted line. Well, as long as those players haven’t protested during the national anthem in the past, that is.

Jerome Solomon of the Houston Chronicle revealed that he has spoken to two NFL agents who claim that the Texans aren’t interested in signing players who have knelt during the playing of the national anthem. “There is no directive within the organization, but it is considered to be understood that as desperate as the Texans are to bring in talent, the pool of potential signees and draftees will not include anyone who has participated in protests or are likely to,” he writes.

This latest news could make it even more difficult for the Texans to lure free agents, especially after the comment made by team owner Bob McNair regarding player protests last October. McNair allegedly left many owners “stunned” when he told his peers, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison.” Later that day, Texans star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins failed to show up for practice in response to McNair’s remark, sparking a divide between the owner and his players. 

The Texans have since released a statement denying the report.

While money will always speak louder than anything else, it's hard to see why any free agent would willingly sign for a team that has an owner who once likened his players to criminals. If the Texans strike out this entire offseason, the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of McNair, who allowed his personal beliefs to impact his team's ability to stay competitive.