As NFL owners gather in New York for their first in-person meeting since December 2019, one of them finds himself in the middle of a new controversy regarding the use of racially insensitive language.
According to Michael Silver, formerly of NFL.com and submitting a special item to BallySports.com, Texans owner Cal McNair “made a racially insensitive comment at the team’s charity golf tournament in May, causing gasps in the audience and upsetting numerous employees.” Silver cites several unnamed witnesses in support of the report.
While addressing the crowd of more than 100 at the Houston Texans Foundation Charity Golf Classic at River Oaks Country Club, McNair said, “I’m sorry that we couldn’t get together last year, because of the China virus.”
Said one unnamed witness: “Everyone gasped, especially the people directly across from him. He and [his wife] Hannah seemed to think it was hilarious. It was dead silent.”
McNair acknowledged the remark in a statement issued to Silver.
“My comments at the event last May included an inappropriate choice of words,” McNair said. “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 used by McNair was used multiple times by the former president in the early months of the pandemic, and many still use the term (and similar ones) when referring to COVID-19 without apologizing or even flinching.
While the comments from Cal McNair don’t compare to the blatantly racist, homophobic, transphobic, and misogynistic content of the emails that made it untenable for Raiders coach Jon Gruden to continue in his job, it will be interesting to see whether the Commissioner or the league take any action about McNair’s remarks.
Chances are that more than a few of McNair’s peers in the oligarch’s club have, quite frankly, described the virus the same way.