Legendary NFL coach Bill Parcells has a famous quote: “You are what your record says you are.” Bob McNair’s record right now isn’t looking very good.
In October, at a meeting between owners and players regarding demonstrations during the playing of the national anthem, McNair used the regrettable phrase “can’t have the inmates running the prison.” NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent got up and left he was so angry. Texans players were incensed, and some even walked out of practice. McNair tried to smooth things over with the team, but failed.
Twenty days ago, stories broke about how the Texans wouldn’t consider signing a player who either had demonstrated during the anthem or may demonstrate during the anthem in the future. McNair clearly has shown very little understanding of issues that are important to a majority of his player over the last six months. (While the Texans did have the PR deparment issue a denial of this, it wasn’t worth the paper it was written on, and McNair himself was silent).
Sunday, according to reports, McNair let loose another doozy in another owners’ meeting. Actually, he let loose two of them.
In one instance, he made it abundantly clear he has no concept of why players demonstrate for social justice and against excessive police force and brutality vs. African Americans with his comments on the NFL’s anthem policy:
“We’re going to deal with it in such a way, I think, that people will understand that we want everybody to respect our country, respect our flag. And our playing fields, that’s not the place for political statements.”
Everyone with half of a brain understands that the demonstrations have nothing to do with disrespect to America, or to our veterans, yet here’s an NFL owner demonstrating that facts should never get in the way of a good story or quote.
Cue the K-Tel Records pitchman: "But wait, there’s more!"
McNair also took up for maligned Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, who is selling the team under the duress of being investigated for multiple incidents of sexual harassment. Here’s McNair’s defense of his rich, white fellow owner:
“Some of the comments could have been made jokingly. I’m sure he didn’t mean to offend anybody.”
So now, Bob McNair is telling us that inappropriate sexual comments made as jokes in the workplace are okay? I’m pretty sure the government differs with you on this, Bob, not to mention the women who were subjected to the harassment. These women will also tell you there was a lot more than just "inappropriate joking comments" that occurred.
The optics are horrifying. Issues that are important to African American players must be squashed, and it’s OK for old, rich, white guys to be total pervs when they own the business.
To see McNair essentially challenge players that they are going to stand up in the same meeting he’s making excuses for a sexual harasser is straight lunacy. Apparently priorities are mixed up here.
Unless McNair has his priorities perfectly aligned, because fans don’t get angry over pervert owners, only players who want equality. No one is threatening his pocketbook over protecting a creep. Money always trumps doing the right thing.
This is why the comments made by Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive (an immigrant from Bombay, no less) were so important. He understands the place professional sports hold in our society and the power of the platform they have to affect positive change. This is something NFL owners refuse to even acknowledge.
If once is an outlier, twice is a coincidence, and three times is pattern, maybe we need to accept the facts with Bob McNair.
His record is on full display. You get to be the judge.
This story originally appeared on SportsMap. Patrick Creighton is the host of “Nate & Creight” heard 1 to 3 pm, weekdays on SportsMap 94.1 FM, and “Sports & Shenanigans” from noon to 5 pm, Sundays on SB Nation Radio. Follow him on Twitter.