Anthony Mahon / culture / March/April 2018

Bob McNair Defended Jerry Richardson, Because of Course he Did

Written by Anthony Mahon

Houston Texans owner Bob McNair has made no secret of his obsession with putting his foot in his mouth.

A few months ago, McNair referred to anthem-protesting football players as “inmates,” prompting multiple responses via Twitter.

The backlash wasn’t limited to social media. 10 Texans players reacted to McNair’s comments by leaving the Texans’ facility a couple of days before a game against the Seattle Seahawks. All except star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and runningback D’Onta Foreman returned.

McNair quickly went into “cover-my-ass” mode in response.

Five months later, McNair proved he learned nothing by choosing to defend soon-to-be former Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson amidst the latter facing multiple allegations of sexual harassment and use of racial slurs.

“Some of the comments he might have made could have been made jokingly and misunderstood. I’m sure he didn’t mean to offend anybody,” McNair explained to the Daily News

In the same interview, McNair also reiterated his stance against peaceful protests before football games.

“Our playing field, that’s not the place for political statements. That’s not the place for religious statements. It’s the place for football.”

To sum it up, McNair implies there’s a place for sexual harassment as long as you don’t mean to offend anybody but taking a knee on a football field is a no-no.

Although his comments over the past few months have been nothing short of repulsive, they’re not surprising to people who know him. In an interview with Profootballtalk, now-former Texans tackle Duane Brown pointed out numerous red flags regarding McNair’s character.

These include the following:

  1. Openly expressing disdain to his players about Barack Obama’s election as President in 2008.
  2. Warning his players about who they have private conversations with—rather than telling them not to be bigots—after Donald Sterling was caught on tape making racist comments. According to Brown, the talk gave off the impression that they were being told to “be a racist in private and make sure it doesn’t get out.”
  3. Refusing to talk to Duane Brown and neglecting to release a statement defending his character after he protested during the national anthem.

A week after making these comments, Duane Brown was traded to the Seattle Seahawks for a 2018 third round draft pick and a 2019 second round draft pick. While there were already issues preceding Brown speaking out against the owner, the timing of the transaction is suspicious.

The #MeToo movement has made more people aware of sexual harassment and assault. It is also worth noting the Carolina Panthers aren’t the only sports organization getting exposed for sexual harassment in the workplace. With that said, McNair’s comments are flat-out irresponsible and inconsiderate.

His careless defense of a man accused of using a racial slur towards an African-American scout—while boasting a roster full of African-Americans—is also troubling. Being a white man with predominantly black employees doesn’t grant you a lifetime supply of racial get-out-of-jail-free cards.

McNair has displayed a repeated inability to grasp social and political issues. He has embarrassed himself on record twice in just a few months. Maybe he should worry less about how football players choose to make statements and worry more about not making an ass out of himself every time a microphone is put in front of him.

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