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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The clock is ticking. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

If he is indeed to become an ex-Astro George Springer can officially sign with his new team starting at four PM Houston time this Sunday. Michael Brantley the same. All free agents can sign contracts starting Sunday afternoon. If the die isn't cast that Springer is leaving, it certainly feels like his renewing vows with the Astros would be an upset.

The Astros will make Springer a 18.9 million dollar qualifying offer for 2021. He will of course reject that because contract offers of at least five years and over 100 million dollars likely await. Should Springer move on the Astros would then get a compensatory draft pick. Brantley won't get anything in close range of Springer's haul-to-be but still should at least get multiyear offers. The Astros should make the qualifying offer to Brantley (if they don't they forfeit any compensation for his departure). If they don't out of fear that he'd accept the one-year deal, the Astros would look lame. I don't think it comes to that. Losing Springer would be a huge blow on multiple levels, but if somehow they were to keep Brantley while getting back Yordan Alvarez at even 80 percent of his rookie performance level the Astros' lineup would look to be in decent shape.

With MLB's economic outlook shaky for 2021, it's unreasonable to say Jim Crane and his partners should give Springer whatever he wants. A six or seven year megadollar contract for a 31-year-old player with some durability questions on his resume is an iffy proposition. At the same time, the Astros have been quite profitable in recent years (before 2020), and Crane said over the summer the Astros were positioned to be "aggressive, whatever the market looks like." 13 million Josh Reddick dollars are off the books for 2021, 10 mil of Roberto Osuna is gone. After next year more than 57 mil of Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke clear.

MLB's postseason awards will be doled out over the next couple weeks but for the first time in years the Astros don't have a credible candidate for any of the big ones (MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year). The Astros do have three American League Gold Glove finalists. I think Carlos Correa wins the shortstop honor. Correa had a weak regular season at the plate but his defense was stellar, plus the two guys who divvied up the last four AL SS Gold Gloves (Francisco Lindor and Andrelton Simmons) had down seasons and aren't finalists. Quick: name the teams of fellow finalists J.P. Crawford and Niko Goodrum. Hard to see either winning over Correa. Yuli Gurriel and Kyle Tucker were also named top three at their positions. For the first time the finalist selections were driven entirely by stats and analytics.

Big week for the Rockets

With the Rockets settling on Stephen Silas as their new Head Coach, that hire coupled with the in house promotion of Rafael Stone to General Manager makes it appear as though owner Tilman Fertitta is doing more things on the cheap. The NBA economic environment is challenging and huge portions of the rest of Fertitta's portfolio are submerged in a COVID-driven bloodbath. Silas has paid his dues for a good while and most recently worked under the outstanding Rick Carlisle in Dallas. He has earned a lead chair opportunity. But with no prior head coaching experience and no bidding war for his services, Silas signs on at a much lower rate than, say, Jeff Van Gundy would have commanded. Former head coaches (and former Rockets' player rivals of the 90s) Jeff Hornacek and Nate McMillan would make for two strong Silas assistants. From their playing days if you combined Hornacek's offense and McMillan's defense into one player you'd have one of the top 20 or so greatest guards in NBA history.

Silas and Stone take the reins at a challenging time for the Rockets with their messy salary cap sheet, reduced draft capital, and one of the oldest core player groups in the league. Polite public statements aside, it's part of why Daryl Morey left. Maybe Mike D'Antoni too though that seemed more about feeling disrespected by the lack of a contract extension before this past season. D'Antoni may have overplayed his hand since he did not get fill any of the coaching vacancies elsewhere in the NBA. Only Oklahoma City remains open, and D'Antoni has gotten no run there.

Buzzer Beaters:

1. It seems sadly appropriate that the first meaningful positive in the Texans' 2020 season came in form of a COVID test result.

2. If we all commit to getting through it together, I think we can get by without a Texans' game this weekend. Remember, it's their open week, not a bye!

3. One hit wonder goodbye songs: Bronze-Terry Jacks "Seasons in the Sun" Silver-Norman Greenbaum "Spirit In The Sky" Gold-Steam "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye"

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