Houston Texans meet with Mayor Sylvester Turner

- At the urging of three-time Pro Bowl left tackle Duane Brown, Texans owner Bob McNair reached out to Mayor Sylvester Turner for a meeting to discuss what they can do to help make the Houston area a better place to live with hopes of avoiding problems other cities are dealing with.

The Mayor, Houston Police Chief Martha Montalvo and other members of the Mayor's team met for about two hours on Tuesday with a group from the Texans.

Along with McNair and Brown, those involved from the Texans included chief operating officer Cal McNair, executive vice president and general manager Rick Smith, team president Jamey Rootes, offensive tackles Chris Clark and Kendall Lamm, guard Jeff Allen and Texans director of security Emmett Baylor.

"First of all I want to thank Mr. McNair for helping facilitate my visit and this meeting," Brown said. "Just had some dialogue about our concerns and frustrations. We were able to voice things that we wanted to see changed. They were able to voice things to us, things that they're trying to implement into their training and things they are implementing amongst themselves to prevent certain situations from happening here. It was a phenomenal meeting. I think we all learned a lot."

McNair also thought it was an "exceptional meeting," and praised Mayor Turner for helping bring the two sides together.

“We initiated the meeting because we have some players concerned about the relations between the police and the African-American community," McNair said. "The purpose of the meeting was to ask if we could sit down and talk and see if we can do something positive. It’s important that I do everything I can in the community. We’re committed to that.

"I’m really proud of our mayor. He’s very realistic. He’s engaged. He understands the issues, and he’s addressing them. We want to address them, also. We said to him, ‘How can we help you?’ Let’s come together, communicate and determine what actions might be beneficial to the community and let’s take those actions.’”

Mayor Turner was thrilled to meet with the Texans contingent.

"It was one of those meetings where everyone at the end left feeling good about our city, and looking to find ways how we can partner together to improve our city." said Mayor Turner. "It’s a rare moment when you’ve got figures from one of your leading sports teams in the city sitting down with the Mayor and those key leaders who represent this city.

"The players themselves, they’re very interested, very concerned about the issues that are being discussed across our country, incidents involving police shootings, the criminal justice system, the inequities in many of these neighborhoods. The fact that they are showing as much interest off the field as they are showing on the field speaks volumes about who they are as players. They are players, and they are so much more than that."

Rick Smith said he was proud of the way his owner and the Mayor came together for this meeting.

“We talked about national and systemic issues, but, more important, they’re also local issues," Smith said. "We have local resources and local relationships that can provide local solutions. That’s what we’re focused on, and that’s what will be accomplished.”

Brown said his gesture before the Texans game with the Patrioits at Gillette Stadium when he stood for the national anthem, but raised his fist, led him to want to meet with the Mayor.

"Definitely, definitely," Brown said. "What I did in New England, I stood for the anthem to show love and support for our country, and raised my fist in solidarity with the people that are fighting against injustices that have been going on. That's kind of what got the conversation started here, and this meeting is kind of what came about from that."

McNair hopes meetings like this can greatly enhance the relationship between law enforcement and the African-American community.

“We want to see if our players can help bring the community together and help establish a better working relationship with the police," McNair said. "There’s a lack of trust on the part of the African American community with the police department. We need to get the police more active and involved in the community on a non-confrontational basis.
“The better they get to know the police, the more comfortable they’ll be with them.

Mayor Turner applauds the Texans for spending time with him and his team on such important topics.

"Today the conversation was not about a football game," Mayor Turner said. "It was about our community, was about the city as a whole and how we can work together to make it better.

"You have the Texans as a team taking time from their season to sit down with the Mayor of the City of Houston and his team to discuss the needs of the city, and how we can both work collaboratively to advance the interests of the city."

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