This past May Houston Texans Chairman and CEO Cal McNair called COVID-19 the “China virus” at the team’s charity golf tournament, according to Bally Sports.
The report cites several individuals who were present for the remark, when McNair said, “I’m sorry that we couldn’t get together last year, because of the China virus.”
McNair and his wife, Hannah, were said to be smirking in amusement at the comment.
“My comments at the event last May included an inappropriate choice of words,” McNair said in a statement to Bally Sports. “I immediately apologized to people who approached me then and I apologize again now. I know how important it is to choose my words carefully. I would never want to offend anyone.”
The term “China virus” is offensive and has been linked to a rise in hate crimes against members of the Asian American community. Former President Donald Trump used the term extensively during the early days of the pandemic, stoking his followers’ anti-Asian sentiment.
If this Cal McNair story sounds sort of familiar to you, it should.
Cal’s father Bob McNair, who died in November 2018, also found himself in hot water over racially insensitive comments. At an owners meeting in 2017, Bob told his fellow NFL owners they “can’t have the inmates running the prison.” This was in reference to ongoing player protests against racial injustice during the national anthem.
So apparently the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree.
Bob McNair was a Republican from the South, a multimillion dollar contributor to Trump’s 2016 Presidential campaign, and then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s largest donor from from Jan. 1, 2009, to Sept. 30, 2015.
This tells us quite a bit about the McNairs. No doubt, son learned a few lessons from dad.
This is old hat for the NFL. An extremely conservative league, run by old white conservative men. A group who at their best condones racism, sexism, and lack of human decency. And at their worst actively participate.
The news of Cal McNair’s racial insult comes on the heels of the resignation of Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden over leaked emails containing racist, homophobic and misogynist content.
This league is what it is. These incidents are all too common. The question is, can or will anything ultimately be done?
In the NBA we saw commissioner Adam Silver force then-Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling to sell the team when audio of his racist comments became public.
But this is the NFL. Roger Goodell doesn’t have that kind of power or gumption.
The owners of the franchises hold the true power. Why would any owner ever condemn Cal McNair? Odds are they’ve all likely done something similar or worse.