CONTROVERSY CONTINUES

Patrick Creighton: Bob McNair doesn’t care about his players' concerns, and now it’s on tape

Bob McNair can't stay out of the news. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

In light of the leaked audio to the New York Times of the special emergency meeting between NFL owners and players from October 2017, we have now gotten a real accounting of just how phony Bob McNair is when he talks about caring about his players.

As if the “inmates running the prison” comment for which McNair apologized, then rescinded his apology were not enough, we now have more direct quotes from the Texans owner.

“You fellas need to ask your compadres, fellas, stop that other business, let’s go out and do something that really produces positive results, and we’ll help you,” McNair said at the meeting.  We know now, thanks to hindsight, this was a huge blast of hot air up the tailpipe.

McNair clearly was never interested in helping the players address their platform, just in getting them to stop kneeling in protest of social injustice during the anthem.

Colin Kaepernick has made a difference, in donating $1M to multiple grass roots charities, in being the face of a movement, culminating in his receiving an award from Amnesty International just last week.  Other players have worked with civic leaders and law enforcement officials to help bring communities back together. Owners have done nothing.

The disingenuous words of McNair are disturbing, the self-serving nature of which is blatantly transparent.  

The main objective of the owners in this meeting was, as Bills owner Terry Pegula stated, to ”put a Band-Aid on what’s going on....”

While he is clearly not the only owner who was seeking a self-serving solution, Mr. McNair’s repeated patterns both public and private continue to show an uglier side of a man previously known for being magnanimous and charitable.

Mr. McNair made it clear via his words and his subsequent actions that players cannot trust him when he speaks on working with them.  These aren’t issues of football, owners, players, or the like, they’re human issues. Players want to make a positive impact, owners are hindering them.

Former 49ers S Eric Reid made what could be the most powerful statement of the three hour meeting:

“Everyone in here is talking about how much they support us.  Nobody stepped up and said we support Colin’s right to do this.  We all let him become Public Enemy number 1 in this country…”

All the owners fell silent, including McNair.

The sports world gets up in arms when NBA players are told to "shut up and dribble" yet the NFL can pull the same thing and it’s supposed to be OK?  

McNair has dug himself a credibility hole, and until he backs up his previous claim on helping the players with their platform, he’s never getting out of it.

Patrick Creighton is the host of “Late Hits” weeknights 7-9p CT on ESPN 97.5 Houston; “Straight Heat” weeknights 9p-12a CT on SB Nation Radio; “Nate & Creight” Sundays 12-5p CT on SB Nation Radio.  Follow him on Twitter: @pcreighton1

 

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Houston scored in droves

Astros drub Twins in finale to take series win

Houston's offense showered Minnesota with hits in Sunday's finale. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After splitting the first two games, with Houston's offense uncharacteristically ineffective in the loss on Saturday, they tried to turn things around with a win to take the series on Sunday. The Astros would bounce right back at the plate, getting hits and runs all through the afternoon to rout the Twins.

Final Score: Astros 14, Twins 3

Astros' Record: 37-28, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Framber Valdez (3-0)

Losing Pitcher: Michael Pineda (3-4)

Valdez keeps rolling

Framber Valdez continued to impress in 2021 after starting his season on the IL, posting another quality start with a win against the Twins. After four scoreless frames, he allowed a solo homer to start the bottom of the fifth, just the third hit of the game for Minnesota to that point. He went on to retire the next three batters to get through the inning.

He faltered a bit in the bottom of the sixth, allowing a leadoff double followed by a single, with a run coming across on an error on that play. He once again rebounded to finish that frame, then put up a 1-2-3 seventh to finish his day off, notching another quality start and a win. His final line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 97 P.

Houston keeps their foot on the gas

While Valdez's outing was a highlight of its own, Houston's offense was the story of the day. They put their foot down on the pedal all day and did not let up, starting in the top of the first when Jose Altuve turned the first pitch of the game around for a single, later scoring on a sac fly by Alex Bregman to put the Astros in front 1-0.

After two scoreless innings, they got right back on the scoreboard in the fourth with a two-run homer by Kyle Tucker, then kept pouring it on with two runs in the fifth on a sac fly by Yuli Gurriel and an error, making it 5-0 at the time. The runs kept coming in the top of the sixth, with a two-RBI double by Michael Brantley, who would score later on a two-run bomb by Yordan Alvarez. Then, in the top of the seventh, Brantley struck again to push it to double-digits with a two-RBI single to make it 11-2 and give Brantley 4 RBI on the afternoon.

With Houston swapping out starters with the hefty lead, even their pinch-hitters were getting involved, with Chas McCormick leading the top of the eighth off with a solo shot to make it a ten-run game. They then loaded the bases with no outs, setting up a sac fly for Myles Straw to make it 13-2.

Astros take the series

In the bottom of the eighth, Ralph Garza Jr. came in as the first reliever out of the bullpen for Houston. He recorded two quick outs but then met Nelson Cruz, who lasered a solo homer to put it back at a ten-run game before finishing the frame. Houston put their twentieth hit on the board in the top of the ninth, their highest total this season, en route to another scoring inning with a sac fly by Robel Garcia to make it 14-3. Garza came in for his second inning of work to wrap things up in the bottom of the ninth, giving the Astros a successful end to this series and road trip.

Up Next: Houston will travel home before an off day on Monday to rest before 20 days of consecutive games. They'll kick off a six-game homestand on Tuesday, welcoming in the Rangers for two starting at 7:10 PM Central. Lance McCullers Jr. (3-1, 2.96 ERA) will make his return from the IL for the Astros, though Jake Odorizzi will "piggy-back" him, and Kyle Gibson (4-0, 2.13 ERA) will take the mound for Texas.

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