Houston Texans chairman Cal McNair used an anti-Asian comment in reference to the COVID-19 pandemic at a team charity golf event in May and later apologized for the remark.
Bally Sports, citing two witnesses at the event who asked to remain anonymous, reported Tuesday that McNair used the slur while addressing more than 100 attendees at the Houston Texans Foundation Charity Golf Classic at River Oaks Country Club just as the event was about to start.
The comment was in reference to the COVID-19 pandemic that prompted widespread quarantines and the cancellation of numerous social gatherings, including the 2020 charity golf event.
One witness told Bally Sports that "everyone gasped" and that both Cal McNair and Hannah McNair appeared to believe the comment was "hilarious."
Such language has drawn criticism from doctors and scientists who argue that the phras can create xenophobic attitudes toward Asian Americans. The COVID-19 pandemic originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan toward the end of 2019.
“My comments at the event last May included an inappropriate choice of words,” McNair said in a statement provided to Bally Sports. “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.”
The revelation of McNair’s comment comes at a particularly difficult time for the NFL, as the Las Vegas Raiders continue to deal with the fallout of the resignation of former head coach Jon Gruden after emails he sent that contained homophobic and misogynistic language leaked. The emails had been reviewed as part of an investigation into the culture inside the front office of the Washington Football Team.
This also isn’t the first time the Texans have been mired in a similar scandal.
McNair took over the reins of the Texans franchise after his father, Bob McNair, died in November 2018. In October 2017, however, it was revealed that Bob McNair, during an NFL owners meeting, addressed the other heads of the league’s franchises and said: “We can’t have the inmates running the prison,” when speaking about player protests of police brutality earlier that season.
The Houston Texans (1-5) will face the Los Angeles Rams Sunday.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Cal McNair, Houston Texans chairman, used anti-Asian slur at event