Texans QB Watson Expects Uncomfortable Conversations at Camp After Landmark Offseason

Brandon Scott
July 07, 2020 - 5:25 am

Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson said he has not spoken with team ownership about the activism so many NFL players have lent their voices to in the last two months.

He expects that to change at training camp later this month.

Watson, speaking with NBA veteran Carmelo Anthony on a YouTube Live session Monday, said he expects uncomfortable conversations at camp.

The majority of NFL players -- about 70 percent -- are black. Their experiences and feelings about racism and police brutality were finally acknowledged by the NFL last month, after a group of stars joined to produce a powerful video calling for change within the league.

Watson told Anthony he expects locker rooms to be different, whereas before black players may have been more reluctant to speak up about social issues for fear of backlash, due to the power dynamic. 

Most in the league's positions of power are still white, and that Colin Kaepernick was shunned from the NFL after first igniting the movement among players is important context. 

"It's going to be different," Watson said. "I honestly, right now, today couldn't tell you exactly how it's going to. 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."

Watson has spoken with O'Brien, the head coach-general manager, and executive vice president of football operations Jack Easterby about social issues. 

Watson speaks regularly with teammate and known activist Kenny Stills, who he is working out with in Arizona this week. Watson also said he recently spoke with Colin Kaepernick about ways to help bring meaningful change.

Since the police custody death of Houston-native George Floyd, leaders in the Texans organization have been vocal about doing their part to combat racism. 

Not just the black players, but J.J. Watt and O'Brien have spoken out. The McNair family, which founded and owns the Texans, have continued a web series Conversations for Changea roundtable discussion featuring black athletes and coaches with ties to the organization.

The Texans report to training camp July 25, Watson said, though scheduling in sports is fluid because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"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."

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