Texans’ Cal McNair Used Anti-Asian Slur at Team’s Charity Golf Tournament in May


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Houston Texans owner Cal McNair referred to COVID-19 as the “China Virus” at an event for the organization’s charitable foundation in May, according to Bally Sports’ Michael Silver.

Silver spoke to a source who said the attendees “gasped” after McNair made the remark.

McNair provided a statement through a Texans spokesperson to Silver apologizing for the comment:

“My comments at the event last May included an inappropriate choice of words. I immediately apologized to people who approached me then and I apologize again now. I know how important it is to choose my words carefully. I would never want to offend anyone.”

In March 2020, the FBI warned the number of hate crimes against Asian Americans could potentially climb due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

One year later, UC San Francisco released the results of a study that found “the number of coronavirus-related tweets with anti-Asian hashtags rose precipitously” in the week after former President Donald Trump called COVID-19 the “Chinese virus” on Twitter.

The FBI recorded 279 incidents of anti-Asian hate crime in 2020, a rise from the 161 instances reported in 2019.

Silver’s report comes after Jon Gruden resigned as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders after he was found to have made racist, anti-gay and misogynistic comments in a number of emails.

The emails were uncovered as part of the NFL’s investigation into allegations of a toxic workplace inside the Washington Football Team organization. Former WFT President Bruce Allen was among the recipients of Gruden’s correspondence.

That has led many to call for the league to release the full findings from its investigation.

The Associated Press’ Barry Wilner reported in October the NFL didn’t find any other examples of league or team personnel sending emails of a similar manner to Gruden.

McNair’s father, Bob, helped bring the Texans into the NFL in 2002. Cal became the franchise’s chief executive officer in January 2019, shortly after Bob’s death in November 2018.

Bob received criticism in 2017 when in response to the wave of player protests across the NFL, he said the league “can’t have the inmates running the prison,” per Seth Wickersham and Don Van Natta Jr. of ESPN.


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