The firing of Texans P.R. director Amy Palcic continues to create P.R. problems for the team.
Among other things, the team is fighting the perception that executive V.P. of football operations and interim G.M. Jack Easterby made the decision. Team president Jamey Rootes insists that he made the unpopular move.
“It was definitely my call,” Rootes said in a statement, via the Associated Press. “I gave her the role a number of years ago and felt the need to make a change. Leadership is sometimes a very lonely role and from time to time you have to make a move that impacts people that you care about deeply. This was one of those unfortunate times.”
That’s not altering the belief in league circles that the outcome carries Easterby’s fingerprints.
Palcic reportedly was told that she’s no longer a “cultural fit.” This explanation remains confusing, given that the team’s culture currently is unsettled as it looks for a new G.M. and a new head coach. Or maybe it isn’t unsettled; maybe Easterby is setting the culture, and maybe all future hires will be required to fit the culture Easterby is creating.
Some in league circles also has asked, given the timing, whether the move was influenced by the recent outcome of the presidential election.
In 2017, then-Texans tackle Duane Brown shared with PFT a story from 2008, in the aftermath of team founder Bob McNair’s infamous “[w]e can’t have the inmates running the prison” remark during the anthem controversy. Specifically, Brown said that McNair expressed dismay to players regarding the outcome of the election that saw Democratic candidate Barack Obama defeat Republican candidate John McCain.
“He came to talk to the team,” Brown said regarding McNair, who died in November 2018. “He was visibly upset about it. He said, ‘I know a lot of y’all are happy right now, but it’s not the outcome that some of us were looking for.’ That was very shocking to me.”
McNair denied making the remarks, but former Texans tight end Owen Daniels confirmed the incident.
Palcic on Saturday tweeted that the election of Vice President Kamala Harris amounts to a “historic day,” adding that “[t]o every little girl out there … you can be ANYTHING you dream of!” Palcic also retweeted a message from actress Reese Witherspoon, who called it a “monumental day.” (Palcic’s most recent tweet contains a viral video of a girl struggling (and failing) to not cackle while explaining the Trump campaign Saturday press conference not at the Four Seasons hotel but at Four Seasons Total Landscaping, a business sandwiched between a sex shop and a crematorium.)
Given that the firing came within four days after the posting of those tweets, and that the Texans had a two-week break from October 25 through November 8 during which it would have made much more sense to make the move, it’s not unreasonable to wonder whether Palcic’s celebration of the election result sparked the termination.
Whatever the reasoning and whoever made the decision, this move backfired badly on the Texans, especially since players like J.J. Watt and Kenny Stills have echoed concerns raised by many media members who worked directly with Palcic regarding her skills, abilities, and personality.