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

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.

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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