HOUSTON (AP) — Houston Texans chairman and CEO Cal McNair has apologized for referring to the novel coronavirus as the “China virus” during the team’s charity golf tournament in May.
The phrase, used frequently by former president Donald Trump, was considered by many to be insensitive to Asians because it placed blame on China for the COVID-19 pandemic. The first recorded cases of COVID-19 occurred in Wuhan, China, in late 2019.
Bally Sports reported Tuesday that McNair used the phrase while addressing more than 100 participants in the golf tournament before they began play, blaming the virus for the event’s cancellation the previous year.
“My comments at the event last May included an inappropriate choice of words,” McNair said in a statement to Bally Sports, which the Texans confirmed to The Associated Press. “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.”