Houston Texans Chairman and CEO Cal McNair has apologized for referring to the coronavirus as the “China virus” at a charity event over the summer.
McNair reportedly made the comments at the Houston Texans Foundation Charity Golf Classic in May. Bally Sports reported that McNair told the crowd, “I’m sorry that we couldn’t get together last year because of the China Virus.”
HOUSTON, TX – AUGUST 29: Owner Cal McNair and Head Coach Bill OBrien of the Houston Texans talks before a game with Head Coach Sean McVay of the Los Angeles Rams during week four of the preseason at NRG Stadium on August 29, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
According to the report, that line earned McNair gasps and looks of shock from the assembled crowd at the River Oaks Country Club in Houston.
“My comments at the event last May included an inappropriate choice of words,” McNair said in a statement. “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.”
HOUSTON, TX – SEPTEMBER 13: Houston Texans owner Robert McNair (L) waits on the field with his son Cal before their game against the Kansas City Chiefs at NRG Stadium on September 13, 2015 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Of course, the coronavirus originated in China, and until our modern, extremely sensitive age, it was customary to refer to viruses and/or diseases by their country or region of origin. McNair is apparently either unaware of that cultural shift or thought he was on safe ground at one of Houston’s ritziest golf clubs.
Cal McNair took the reins of the Texans organization after his father, Texans founder and original owner Bob McNair passed away in 2018.