JOHN GRANATO

The city of Houston vs. Bob McNair on the charge of racism: The honorable judge John Granato presiding

Let's take Bob McNair's legacy to the judge. Bob Levey/Getty Images

The City of Houston vs Bob McNair

Charge: Racism

The Honorable John Granato presiding

Judge Granato: Are both sides ready to argue this case?

Defense: Your honor the defense moves to have this charge dismissed. It is baseless and without merit.

Prosecutor: We have several witnesses who heard Mr. McNair state that “the inmates can’t run the prison.” That is clearly a racist statement. The NFL is made up of almost 70% African American players. This plantation mentality must stop here and now.

Defense: Your honor all my client is guilty of is mixing a metaphor. If he had said “inmates running the asylum” would they have condemned him for believing they’re all crazy? If he had said “that was a horse of a different color” would they have thought he called them all horses? It’s ridiculous to think that a life’s work should be tarnished by one slip of the tongue and an ambiguous one at that. Let’s also not forget the setting of that statement: negotiations to end the flag controversy. Racial tensions were extremely high. In any other setting Mr. McNair’s statement would not have been as highly scrutinized.

Prosecutor: Your honor we also have the 2008 incident in which Mr. McNair was addressing the team and was “very disappointed” that Barack Obama had won the election and would be President of the United States. We will have plenty of witnesses testifying to that.

Defense: Your honor we can save the court a lot of time here. We will stipulate that yes Mr. McNair was indeed disappointed in that election’s result if the prosecutor will also stipulate that in every election the losing side is disappointed that they lost. Mr. McNair was a staunch Republican. Was he supposed to be happy that a Democrat won? Were Democrats happy that Reagan, Bush and Trump won? Are they racists because of it?  Of course not. They have their political views just like Mr. McNair did.

Prosecutor: Mr. McNair’s views included defending his friend Jerry Richardson when he was accused of making racially charged statements. Mr. McNair was certain Mr. Richardson meant no harm. Since when are racial epithets harmless?

Defense: You honor Mr. McNair saw the good in everyone. That he thought that his good friend meant no harm with his words is not surprising. Mr. McNair was an extremely positive person. Seeing the best and positives in everyone and everything may be idealistic but it certainly isn’t criminal and neither should defending a friend when he is under such intense public scrutiny.

Your honor the defense would like to offer the examples of Rick Smith, Tony Wyllie and Kevin Cooper, all African Americans who among other African Americans held high ranking positions in the Texans organization. Mr. Smith was his highest ranking official as General Manager of the team for 11 years. Mr. McNair’s legacy is the Texans and he entrusted that legacy to an African American. Does that sound like a man who is racist?

Prosecutor: Donald Sterling had Elgin Baylor and Doc Rivers as his General Manager and Player Personnel Director and he was clearly a racist.

Defense: I didn’t say it precluded you from being a racist. Donald Sterling was a slum lord and was taped making racially charged statements. Bob McNair has done nothing remotely like that. Mixing a metaphor, being a disappointed Republican and standing up for your friend don’t make you a racist. Please tell me that there’s more evidence than this because I have a lot more evidence to the contrary, namely the millions of dollars in charitable donations to help the underprivileged no matter what their color and the testimony of countless African American employees who will tell you that he always treated them with class and respect.

Judge Granato: Gentlemen I believe I’ve heard enough. It is the burden of the prosecution to bring evidence of racism to these proceedings and I do not believe they have met that burden. We throw the word “racist” around pretty loosely these days. The definition of the word racist is a “person who shows or feels discrimination or prejudice against people of other races or who believes that a particular race is superior to another.” I cannot find any example of that in any of Mr. McNair’s actions. As a matter of fact his life was filled with examples of exactly the opposite. That his legacy is marred by these accusations is in my opinion a shame and says more about this society than it does about Mr. McNair. He always represented himself with class and dignity and should be remembered in that way. This court finds for the defendant. The charges are dismissed. Court is adjourned.

 

Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Often times, sports can be a copycat forum. Whether it's trying to replicate an offense, defense, philosophy, or outright style biting, we rarely see anything original. Sports sometimes take their cues from Hollywood. How many remakes of old movies and ideas have we seen? Or, how many different iterations of a successful movie franchise will we continue to get shoved down our throats? (I'm looking at you Fast And Furious. But I'm going to see the new one anyway.)

Every so often, we'll get the pleasure of a trailblazer. Someone who stands out against the crowd and prefers to do something so out of the box, we may choose to fully embrace the different approach, or, we may choose to mock the out of the box ideas. The Texans have chosen to blaze their own trail and go with a general manager by committee for the upcoming season. They came to this conclusion (forced into it) after a failed attempt to woo Nick Caserio away from the Patriots amidst tampering charges. Bill O'Brien, Jack Easterby, Chris Olsen, and Jamey Rootes will all play a part in fulfilling the role of GM. I go back and forth as to whether they've made the right decision and whether or not it'll work. Let's take a look at a few reasons to support both sides of the argument:

Will Work: Three or four heads better than one

Texans Chairman and CEO D. Cal McNair

houstontexans.com

Think back to when you were in school. I know that may be difficult for some of us that are long removed from those days. What was one of your favorite type of assignments? Typically, group assignments were fun because you got to collaborate with others on a project. It worked best if you chose your own group because you knew everyone would pull their weight. This may be the case here, as long as there are clear cut lines in which each person will operate and how tough decisions will be made.

Won't Work: Too many sheriffs, not enough cops

Texans EVP of Team Development Jack Easterby

houstontexans.com

Those same group projects have also been known to cause division, friction, and make getting a good grade nearly impossible. All of the guys on this committee have primary responsibilities. Now they have to take on extra duties. This can lead to some lacking in areas of each of their jobs. We've all experienced a collaborative effort gone wrong. Whether someone didn't pull their weight, or someone was a control freak, there's always a chance of something going awry when multiple people have to come together for a common goal, especially when you're dealing with a bunch of alpha males used to being the in charge of their own lane but forced to cooperate and collaborate with others.

Will Work: Everyone's seats are hot

Texans President Jamey Rootes

houstontexans.com

I grew up respecting the knowledge older people could pass along. I may not have always listened to what they said, but I most definitely absorbed those lessons. One saying I remember and still hold onto is "pressure can make a diamond or crack a pipe." The former is why I think this setup will work. When former GM Brian Gaine was fired late into this offseason, it put everyone on notice that their jobs are also on the line. If this group can feel that heat and use it to fuel them positively, this GM by committee thing can work.

Won't Work: No blueprint or copycat source

Texans Senior VP of Football Operations Chris Olsen

houstontexans.com

Like I said previously, sports are a copycat forum. Usually, there's someone somewhere that's done it before that you can get a few pointers from. Hell, the Texans organization has been trying to replicate what the Patriots have done for almost their whole existence! However, there hasn't been an example that I can think of in which any sports franchise has had a committee of people fill the role of GM instead of a single person. When you have an example to follow, it's similar to having directions on assembling a toy you've bought for your kid. Next time you try putting something together, do it without the instructions and see how easy/difficult it could be.

While the draft and the bulk of free agency has come and gone, there's always work a GM is doing that will help his team. There are always players on other teams to watch in case they're cut. There's also college players to keep an eye on for the upcoming draft, as well as a multitude of other duties an NFL GM has on a daily basis. Information funneled through one person and sent out to others is much more concise than being funneled through several and sent out to many.

Signals can get crossed. Critical steps or info can get missed and/or overlooked. However, we don't know if this will or won't work because we have nothing to base it off of. We will have to wait and see how this plays out. Who knows? We may be on the verge of something new and innovative in sports. We could also be seeing a disaster the likes of which we've never seen. Let's wait and see what happens before we pass judgement.

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