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 new-look Texans won't get started until September, but the Roughnecks' season is about to begin. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

Without much fanfare, or seemingly any, the Houston Roughnecks are preparing for opening night of the XFL 3.0 season just a couple of weeks away.

The Roughnecks will host the Orlando Guardians, 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18 at TDECU Stadium on the UH campus. That’s less than a week after the NFL’s Super Bowl.

Before one pass is thrown, one run rushed, or one groin pulled, Las Vegas has set odds for the 2023 XFL season. Our Roughnecks and the Orlandos are tied for the longest odds on the board, +750. The early betting favorite is the St. Louis Battlehawks at +400.

Just a note: if you’re like Cosmo Kramer and think wagering on early-season XFL games is “some sweet action” – well, “you really need help, you need a team of psychiatrists working around the clock, thinking about you” and George Costanza.

Not surprisingly, good seats remain for opening night. Lousy seats, too. And seats in the middle.

If the Houston Texans and the all-mighty NFL couldn’t fill half of NRG Stadium, do the Roughnecks stand a prayer of drawing big crowds to TDECU Stadium?

One thing in the Roughnecks favor: affordable seats for their five home games on the XFL’s 10-game schedule. Season tickets for Roughnecks games start at $110 and go up to $480 at xfl.com. Individual game tickets, available on Ticketmaster, are $24 and higher. Reasonably priced food and drink (I kid because I love), plus an array of team merch will be available, including T-shirts ($25), baseball caps ($28-$34), sweatshirts and sweatpants ($45-$60), and bucket hats ($45).

Of course, nothing sells seats like winning. The Roughnecks were 5-0 and dominating the league last time the XFL played. That was 2020 when Covid-19 cut the season short. That was then …

This is now. Much like the Texans (as of this week), the most recognizable and popular figure on the field will be the head coach. The 2023 Roughnecks will be led by NFL veteran Wade Phillips, who has a lot of history and DNA in Houston. Quarterbacks currently on the roster are Cole McDonald from Hawaii, Kaleb Eleby from Western Michigan and Brandon Silvers from Troy State.

Most of the roster will be new names for Houston fans, although the league is bragging that 255 XFL’ers have been on NFL rosters at some point.

The Roughnecks will compete in the XFL South division along with the Arlington Renegades, Orlando Guardians and San Antonio Brahmas. That’s three out of four teams from Texas. The XFL North is comprised of the D.C. Defenders, Seattle Sea Dragons, St. Louis Battlehawks and Vegas Vipers.

Every XFL game (40 regular season, two playoffs, one championship) will air somewhere across ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and FX, plus streaming on ESPN+. As they say, check your local listing to find the Roughnecks.

If you think that the XFL is just “too soon,” hold on until April when the Houston Gamblers take the field for the 2023 USFL season. Although don’t get too excited about attending home games. Houston’s “home” is in Birmingham, Ala. I know, silly.

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