Dear Mr. McNair,
The statement you made prior to Week 8 of this NFL season was absolutely ridiculous.
You said that “we [the owners] can’t have the inmates [the players] running the prison.”
Aside from the possible racial undertones for which you’re already under scrutiny, I’m here to tell you why your analogy is completely wrong.
As a kid, I idolized football players. I dressed up as John Elway for more Halloweens and show-and-tell days than I can remember. My dream job was to be an NFL quarterback for as long as a dream truly meant just that; a dream.
I’ve had Broncos memorabilia covering my room in every house in which I’ve lived. For years, I had a Champ Bailey Fathead hanging above my bed, forever diving for a one-handed interception.
What I’m getting at here is that the whole reason I love the crazy game of football is because of the people that play it. Without them—the heroes (and villains) laying it all on the line every Sunday—there’s no NFL, and there’s no reason to love the game.
Before your comments were publicized, I would’ve had to google you to know who you were, even though you’re the boss of some amazing NFL players (who no doubt earn you millions of dollars of revenue every year).
These players are the whole reason you invested in an NFL franchise in the first place, and if you saw them as inmates, I doubt you would’ve invested at all.
I understand that you don’t agree with some of what they’ve done lately. And I understand that perhaps you made your statement in a (failed) attempt to sway the owners in favor of a policy requiring players to stand, a policy that you obviously believe is necessary.
But why not just take individual action? If the fact that your players are protesting upsets you so much, I would encourage you to fine or suspend them. It’s your “prison” after all.
I have a feeling that you understood just how poorly this would go over, given how badly an indirect statement went over with your team and how much worse your attempted apology went.
Perhaps by the time anyone reads this, you’ll have issued a proper apology to your players, to the league and to fans of the game everywhere.
But, if not, I would encourage you to try to see this from their point of view before you apologize again. They put their bodies on the line every single Sunday and you profit as a direct result.
Without the players, this game—this business—is nothing. We as fans could really care less about who most of the owners are, perhaps save that of our hometown team.
It’s the players who determine your fate as a business owner, and it’s the players who hold the so called keys to your success.
So perhaps, in a sense, you’re more like the faceless inmate. You’re replaceable. The league would go on without you, and someone else would sit in your seat, relying on the players that don the Texans uniform every week.
I hope that through this experience you grow closer to the players that make up the Texans organization.
And I hope that before the next time you make an accusation, you look closely at the seat you sit in first.
Tyler Dean is a junior studing mathmatics.