On Tuesday, Houston Texans’ Cal McNair apologized for using the term “China virus” in his speech at the Houston Texans Foundation Charity Golf Classic at River Oaks Country Club in May.
McNair, the CEO and chairman of the Houston football team, made the comment after his speech in front of 100 attendees, according to two anonymous witnesses who talked to Bally Sports
- “I’m sorry that we couldn’t get together last year, because of the China Virus,” McNair reportedly told the participants of the tournament. He also allegedly shared a smirk with his wife, Hannah, after the remark.
- One of the witnesses said the audience gasped at McNair’s comment, “especially the people directly across from him. He and Hannah seemed to think it was hilarious. It was dead silent.”
- One attendee also claimed to hear Hannah make jokes about her husband’s “China Virus” comment after his speech. An organizational source told Bally Sports that Hannah made a public-facing visit to a local Asian community center a week before the charity tournament.
The aftermath: On Tuesday, in a statement sent through a Texans spokesperson to Bally Sports, McNair admitted that his comments “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,” he added.
- McNair was named Houston Texans’ CEO and chairman after the passing of his father, Bob McNair, in November 2018, USA Today reported. Bob McNair faced backlash in October 2017 for a comment made during a meeting about player protests against police brutality, saying, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison.”
In a corrected report on Monday, the FBI said the number of anti-Asian hate crimes increased by more than 73% in 2020. The agency reported 279 cases in 2020, as opposed to the 161 reported cases in 2019.