PAST HIS PRIME

Patrick Creighton: It’s time for Bob McNair to ride off into the sunset

Bob McNair continues to make bad comments. Bob Levey/Getty Images

It’s almost like a really bad film is being made on the self-destruction of Texans owner Bob McNair and we are all extras in it.

Bob McNair made his fortune in the city of Houston, became a member of the Texas Business Hall of Fame, and is a noted philanthropist who has founded the Robert & Janice McNair Foundation, and the Robert & Janice McNair Educational Foundation.  McNair has been on the Board of Trustees of Rice University, Baylor College of Medicine, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Grand Opera, and more.

Bob McNair is also the man most responsible for the return of the NFL to Houston.

Unfortunately, it’s his involvement as owner of the NFL team that is causing him to come unraveled right before our eyes.

In his latest media faux pas, Bob McNair actually recanted his apology from October of last year.  

“The main thing I regret is apologizing,” McNair told the Wall Street Journal.  “I really didn’t have anything to apologize for.”

Clearly McNair just doesn’t get it.  His apology to his own team fell flat on the players. Johnathan Joseph even said so.   His insistence that he was really referring to the NFL league office and not the players with his comment about “inmates running the prison”is believed by no one but the man Bob McNair sees in the mirror each day, and that could be debatable.

After all, if McNair was really referring to the boys at 345 Park Ave, NYC, as the inmates, why give the man who would have to be considered the lead inmate – Roger Goodell – a new 5 year, $200M contract extension 18 months early?  Bob McNair was a member of the six man Compensation Committee that green lit the deal, and did so a week before the December owners’ meetings in Irving, Texas that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was supposed to get the floor at to discuss slowing down the process on that extension.

Does it make sense that a man would give a $200M contract to someone he feels is an inmate trying to run his prison?

McNair also went out of his way to call Duane Brown a liar, and in the process only gave further evidence that the reason the team would not negotiate a new deal with Brown and so hastily shipped him off to Seattle last season was because Brown had previously protested racial injustice during an anthem by raising his fist.

McNair denied Brown’s contention that the owner addressed the team following the election of President Obama.  

“I don’t go into meetings and express views like that,” said McNair.  “I never said that. He (Brown) has no problem saying things that are not true.”

Here’s the problem: McNair absolutely had this meeting, and multiple players before and after Duane Brown have confirmed this.  In fact, former Texans TE Owen Daniels appeared on ESPN Houston 97.5 with John Granato, Raheel Ramzanali & Del Olaleye on Thursday and said he was surprised McNair would make such a statement because the meeting did happen, and McNair did address the team about his dismay over the election of President Obama in 2008.

McNair got caught calling Duane Brown a liar, with a lie.

McNair further tried to disparage Brown by blaming his former Pro Bowl left tackle for the team rejecting his apology for the inmates comment.

McNair claimed he “just tried to tell the truth” to his players to help them understand what he truly meant, but that he couldn’t crack the locker room because “all Duane was trying to do was be a troublemaker.”  Brown was traded days later to the Seahawks for draft picks.

He further went on to compare players exercising their expression to a McDonald’s worker handing out burgers and telling people to be vegetarians, because clearly if players weren’t playing football, they’d be flipping burgers.  

Professional sports are unlike any other business, but why the burger joint analogy?  He could have chosen so many other businesses to compare but went for the lowest unskilled worker comparison.  I don’t think that was completely by accident. It falls in line with the idea players should be seen and not heard.  Players should obey and not think.

McNair continues to disservice himself, the team, and the league by continually putting his foot in his mouth to the media.  He’s quickly destroying the good will he’s worked hard to earn in the city he’s made his fame and fortune in.

I really don’t want to see Bob McNair wind up in eternal disgrace, the way his pal Jerry Richardson will (you will recall McNair tried to explain away Richardson’s sexual harassment and racist comments by saying that the Panthers owner was probably just joking).

You’re a very rich man Bob; go enjoy the rest of your life away from the media, away from the scrutiny, on a beach somewhere with Janice being treated like royalty.  Don’t continue to undo your legacy by being out of touch with modern times and social mores.

No one wants to continue to be a part of this film where you self-destruct, Bob.  People want to remember the Bob McNair who returned the NFL to Houston, not the one who was responsible for increased racial tensions between players and owners.

Before it’s too late, Bob, turn the keys over to Cal and ride off into the sunset.  

 

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Houston goes up 1-0 in the series

Altuve, Correa help lift Astros to ALCS Game 1 win over Red Sox

Carlos Correa's go-ahead homer in the seventh inning of ALCS Game 1 helped lift the Astros to a 1-0 series lead. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Despite one rough loss to the White Sox in the ALDS, the Astros looked like the dominant team they are capable of being, taking that series 3-1 to advance and taking ownership of home-field advantage in the ALCS against the Red Sox, who upset the Rays. In Game 1, despite trailing for the middle portions of the game, Houston would get more highlight moments from the faces of the franchise to start the series with a win.

Final Score: Astros 5, Red Sox 4

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): Houston leads 1-0

Winning Pitcher: Ryne Stanek

Losing Pitcher: Hansel Robles

Houston strikes first, but Boston sends Valdez to an early exit

Both starting pitchers worked in and out of trouble in the early goings of ALCS Game 1, starting with Framber Valdez in the top of the first. After erasing a leadoff single by inducing a double play, he went on to load the bases on a single and two walks but would strand all three runners to keep Boston off the board. The Astros jumped in front in the bottom half, with Jose Altuve working a leadoff walk, moving to second on a one-out single by Alex Bregman, advancing to third on a wild pitch, then ultimately scoring on a sac fly by Yordan Alvarez to put Houston ahead 1-0 after one frame.

They had a chance to extend their lead in the bottom of the second, taking advantage of a shaky inning by Chris Sale, who loaded the bases with one out as Houston would get two singles and a hit-by-pitch. That flipped the order over to the top, but a great diving catch by former Astro Kiké Hernández would end the inning. Hernández led off the top of the third against Valdez, and he would tie things up with a solo homer.

Things went downhill from there for Valdez and the Astros, as a one-out walk followed by a single gave the Red Sox the go-ahead run in scoring position. On a groundball that likely should have been a double play to end the inning, it would get through Altuve's legs, scoring a run and keeping the inning alive for Boston. They took advantage, getting an RBI double to extend their new lead to 3-1. Valdez would get one more out before Dusty Baker would give him the early hook, bringing in Yimi Garcia, who finished the frame.

A battle of the bullpens, Altuve ties it up

Like Valdez, Sale would also not make it through three innings, getting two outs while putting two on base before Boston would start their bullpen's night as well. Both sets of relievers settled the game down, with the Red Sox stranding two of Houston's runners in the third as well as the fifth, maintaining their two-run lead. After Garcia finished the third, Cristian Javier entered to eat up a couple of innings, and he would do just that by getting through two frames with just one hit, four strikeouts, and no runs.

Next, Phil Maton took over in the top of the sixth and erased a leadoff walk to keep things in striking distance for the home team. In the bottom of the sixth, Houston put another runner on base, getting a one-out single by Chas McCormick. Two batters later, with two outs, Jose Altuve provided yet another career postseason highlight, tying the game 3-3 with a two-run home to re-energize the Minute Maid Park crowd.

Astros take ALCS Game 1

Now a brand new ballgame in the top of the seventh, Brooks Raley came in to face three batters, getting two strikeouts while allowing a single before Dusty Baker would move on to Ryne Stanek, who would get the third out. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Carlos Correa continued his march to a monster off-season contract, putting Houston back on top with a solo homer, making it 4-3.

Houston kept the script after Stanek with the new lead in hand, going to Kendall Graveman as the setup man in the top of the eighth. Despite a two-out single, he would get out of the inning with the lead intact, putting Houston three outs away from the victory. After a walk, single, and hit by pitch to start the bottom of the eighth with the bases loaded, Altuve would drive in his third run of the game, getting a sac fly to extend the lead to two runs at 5-3.

That insurance run proved pivotal, as closer Ryan Pressly was met with a leadoff solo home run by Hernandez, his second of the night for Boston, to make it 5-4. Pressly refocused and was able to get the next three batters in order, though, wrapping up the win to start Houston off with a 1-0 series lead and putting them three wins away from advancing to the World Series.

Up Next: The two teams will have a moderately quick turnaround, with ALCS Game 2 scheduled to start at 3:20 PM Central on Saturday ahead of NLCS Game 1 between the Dodgers and Braves getting the night slot. The pitching matchup is expected to be Nathan Eovaldi for Boston, who is 1-0 with a 2.61 ERA in his two starts this postseason, going opposite Luis Garcia, who had a rough outing in the ALDS for Houston, giving up five runs without completing three innings in Chicago.

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