Matt Patterson via AP
NFL Houston Texans owner and billionaire Robert McNair says he supports the Redskins and Cherokees might not have respected the way they held their whiskey.

NFL Owner Robert McNair Supports 'Redskins,' Says Cherokees Couldn’t Hold Their Whiskey

Vincent Schilling

In a New York Times interview with Robert McNair, owner of the NFL’s Houston Texans, the self-made multi-billionaire told Times correspondent Mark Leibovich that he’s not offended by the Redskins logo of the Washington franchise, and that the Cherokee Indians near where he grew up weren’t good at  ‘holding their whiskey.’

In an article entitled, Why Haven’t Concussions Hurt the N.F.L.? Leibovich talks to a multitude of NFL owners regarding concussions in the NFL as well as covering a range of other related topics.  

Approximately three-quarters of the way into the article, Leibovich first poses the question to McNair about the HBO reality show ‘Hard Knocks’ then transitions into the subject of the Washington Redskins.

McNair, 78, has a bald oval head and bears a slight resemblance to Mr. Clean. He speaks in a blunt drawl. I asked him what he thought of having his team featured last summer on the HBO reality show ‘‘Hard Knocks,’’ about life at an N.F.L. training camp.

He said it was a net plus, although he was distraught over how much swearing there was and joked that Coach Bill O’Brien should introduce a cuss jar. I asked McNair if he was as sensitive to other offensive language, specifically the N.F.L. team in the nation’s capital’s being named the Redskins.

McNair told me that he grew up in western North Carolina, around many Cherokee Indians. ‘‘Everybody respected their courage,’’ McNair told me of the Indians. ‘‘They might not have respected the way they held their whiskey, but. . . .’’ He laughed. ‘‘We respected their courage. They’re very brave people.’’ Put McNair down as not offended by ‘‘Redskins.’’

McNair, who is #194 of the Forbes 400 with a RealTime worth of $3.3 billion, gave $10,000 last year to help repeal a ballot initiative in Houston that protected gays and lesbians from forms of discrimination.


Follow ICTMN's Sports, A&E and Pow Wow's Editor Vincent Schilling on Twitter - @VinceSchilling

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shotwell77's picture
Submitted by shotwell77 on
Please don't besmirch Mr. Clean's good name by comparing to McNair!

Ray Evans Harrell
Ray Evans Harrell
Submitted by Ray Evans Harrell on
Perhaps McNair should revisit his old haunts and look at the wonderful things that having capital to invest does for anyone, especially Indian people connected to each other in special ways. The money brought in by gaming investment has done amazing things for the youth of the Eastern Band including cutting down on all of the white stereotypes of drugs and drinking, juvenile delinquency, etc. that seems now to have been merely a symptom of the extreme poverty that the dominant culture kept the Cherokee people in as a result of what war Historian John Grenier called "The First Way of War" which constituted a deliberate subjugation and impoverishment of indigenous peoples for Settler Colonialism. In fact a Settler Colonial case is currently before the Supreme Court with the Omaha. What did the Eastern Band do with the money? They built a school of the Arts and Culture and are doing amazing things. Of course they're brave. They had to put with so much horse dokey that just to live, required bravery given the environment. Sensitivity is not a quality one would expect from an owner that makes his money damaging the brains of his employees. Naturally, the practice of flaying warriors bodies to make sure they are dead, their bloody skins, wouldn't offend him. (Roxanne Dunbar-Ortis, An Indigenous People's History) I wonder how he feels about Andrew Jackson's practice of making harnesses for his horses from the "skins." It's just history but do we have to glorify such gore? REH, Cherokee, Performing Arts Teacher NYCity.

tmsyr11's picture
Submitted by tmsyr11 on
Its no 'secret' among indian families and native communities of how rampant alcohol and the effects of alcoholism to individuals and families. But the article wasnt about Indians and their whiskey! It was a hit piece on the NFL and a report on the corporate affairs of the league and NFL owners.

mem's picture
Submitted by mem on
This site IS about Indians and a mention "anywhere" may get a response - freedom of speech. His comment is like saying - ...they can't hold their smallpox. Both diseases were monstrously & deliberatly introduced to humans that had absolutely no prior knowledge or defense against these fatal diseases. Natives were the first to be the recepients of evil chemical warfare.