Texans Watt Addresses Kansas City Booing During 'Unity' Moment
The NFL season kicked off on Thursday when the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs assembling at Arrowhead Stadium for a pregame "Moment of Unity."
But some of the 15,000 or so fans in the stands did not add to the unified feeling, choosing to boo the action that proceeded what would be a 34-20 Chiefs win.
"The booing was unfortunate during that moment,'' said Texans team leader J.J. Watt. "I don't fully understand that. There was no flag involved, there was nothing involved with that besides two teams coming together to show unity."
The concept, which was conceived in part by Texans QB Deshaun Watson and Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, involved both teams coming together at midfield. At the same time, to reflect NFL players' desire to fight social injustice, phrases appeared on the Arrowhead scoreboard during the moment:
- We Support Equality
- We Must End Racism
- We Believe in Justice for All
- We Must End Police Brutality
- We Choose Unconditional Love
- We Believe Black Lives Matter
- It Takes All of Us
The "Moment of Unity" occurred following the performance of the national anthem - during which Texans players chose to remain in the locker room.
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Houston executive Jack Easterly told NBC Sports that the demonstration was "Not about Black or white. It's about change." But many Chiefs fans are apparently not embracing change, from the booing to their continued use of the "Arrowhead Chop,'' a hand signal that some view as being racially insensitive.
Some Texans players said the Chiefs fans' actions went unnoticed and unheard. But Watt was aware.
"We're all brothers and part of a brotherhood,'' he said. "The moment of unity was good. ... A locker room is a very diverse place. I've learned a lot. It's been a growing experience for our team ... with friendships that will last a lifetime.''
That's the Texans' overriding message about social injustice - a message that appears to differ from that of some fans.