Houston Texans linebacker Jadeveon Clowney knows what the right move is. All the Texans do.
NFL players notoriously wield the last power of any athlete entity in major professional sports. They have the worst union in pro sports. They’re the only players in the world’s major sports (basketball, soccer, baseball and football) whose contracts are not guaranteed. By the very nature of their game, they have the most dangerous working conditions in major pro sports.
If NFL players were a Game of Thrones character, they’d be Theon — forever getting beatdown, degraded and mocked. But much like Theon, the NFL players have finally risen up and fought back in at least one important instance.
They rose up and got a meaningless preseason game rightfully canceled in the midst of Texas’ Hurricane Harvey catastrophe. Make no mistake, that is why Thursday night’s preseason game between the Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys was finally called off on Wednesday. It was originally only moved to Arlington.
But the Texans players got their way. Just in time.
None of the Texans’ established players wanted this game to go on. They made that more than clear in the I-don’t-want-to-become-the-next-Colin Kaepernick coded way that NFL players have to use. None spoke more eloquently (or emphatically) on the subject that veteran cornerback Johnathan Joseph.
Joseph is one of the real overlooked leaders of this powerhouse Texans defense — and he’s a true family guy. I’ve run into him more than a few times taking his whole family to a Houston Rockets game in the offseason. Joseph is a good dad — and it’s hard to be a good dad when your family is stranded back in Houston and you’re stuck in Frisco at Jerry Jones’ newest playground.
The NFL, the Texans and the Dallas Cowboys all ended up doing the right thing by canceling this fourth preseason game. But the Texans players pushed them there. They flexed some of their power — and were heard. That’s no small win with the NFL.
And a league that infamously (and wrongly) played games just two days after the John F. Kennedy assassination should be looking to its players in cases like this. Roger Goodell has undoubtedly done plenty wrong as commissioner, but he got this one right.
Thanks to the Texans players who spoke up — both publicly and behind closed doors.
If NFL players were a Game of Thrones character, they’d be Theon — forever getting beatdown, degraded and mocked.
Playing this game with Houston underwater and many families still in dire straits would have been the wrong thing to do. Even with the proceeds going to Hurricane Harvey victims. Credit Texans owner Bob McNair for stepping up and saying his family will donate the amount of money to hurricane relief that would have been raised by the game.
J.J. Watt has done an unbelievably amount remotely — he’ll end up raising near $10 million with just his own viral fundraising push. But Watt knows he can do even more in Houston — and it’s easy to imagine him going out amid the first responders and boosting their morale. A lot of the Texans know they can do important things in the city they call home. So, they’re all busing back.
Sometimes, the fun and games need to stop. This is one of those times. And the Texans players made that clear from the beginning. This is a win for the players. And maybe even the start of something.