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Houston Texans chairman and CEO Cal McNair apologizes for anti-Asian comment at event

McNair shocked attendees at the team foundation's charity golf tournament by reportedly telling the crowd, “I’m sorry that we couldn’t get together last year because of the China virus."
Image: Cal McNair
Owner Cal McNair watches the Houston Texans warm up before a game at NRG Stadium in Houston on Sept. 29, 2019.Wesley Hitt / Getty Images file

Houston Texans chairman and CEO Cal McNair has apologized for making an anti-Asian comment in front of a crowd at a charity event his year.

Bally Sports reported that McNair shocked attendees and staff at the Houston Texans Foundation Charity Golf Classic at River Oaks Country Club in May when he told the crowd, "I'm sorry that we couldn't get together last year, because of the China Virus."

Many in attendance gasped at the reference to Covid-19, while McNair and his wife seemed amused, Bally Sports reported.

"My comments at the event last May included an inappropriate choice of words," McNair said in a statement a team representative sent to NBC News. "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."

Former President Donald Trump introduced the anti-Asian phrase. Anti-Asian bias and violence against Asian Americans spiked afterward.

McNair's father, Bob McNair, who owned the team before he died in 2018, was also criticized for controversial comments. Talking about players who knelt during the national anthem in protest of racial injustice and police brutality, Bob McNair said: "We can't have the inmates running the prison."

He later apologized, saying: "I regret that I used that expression. I never meant to offend anyone and I was not referring to our players."

But then he said he regretted having apologized because he was talking about league executives and had nothing to be sorry for.