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#pounditWednesday, April 24, 2024

Sean McDermott apologizes for using 9/11 hijackers as leadership example

Sean McDermott in a hat

Jan 4, 2020; Houston, Texas, USA; Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott before the AFC Wild Card NFL Playoff game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott on Thursday apologized for a ridiculous speech he gave to his team in 2019 in which he cited the Sept. 11 hijackers as a positive example of communication and cooperation.

The report, from Ty Dunne of Go Long, was part of a broader look at the supposed problems in the Bills organization under McDermott.

The lengthy feature published by Dunne said that in a speech to his team in 2019, McDermott used the Sept. 11 hijackers as an example of what great teamwork can accomplish.

The tale was not revealed until Dunne’s article was published this week. It quickly went viral, with many on social media baffled that the Bills coach would use such an appalling comparison.

On Thursday, McDermott seemingly acknowledged that the report was true, and said that he had apologized to his team for failing to communicate his message clearly.

“My intent in the meeting that day was to discuss the importance of communication and being on the same page with the team. I regretted mentioning 9/11 in my message that day and I immediately apologized to the team,” McDermott told reporters to open his press conference Thursday. “Not only was 9/11 a horrific event in our country’s history, but a day that I lost a good family friend.”

McDermott added that the goal of the meeting had been to send a message about “the importance of communication and being on the same page as a team.” He did not explicitly confirm that he had used the hijackers as his example, but did not deny it either.

Obviously, this is absolutely not the sort of thing a coach would want to be talking about at any point, especially late in the season with a team still in the playoff race. McDermott’s choice of analogy is baffling, and it is hardly a shock that players reacted poorly to it.

The Bills enter Week 14 with a 6-6 record and sit on the fringes of the AFC playoff race. As of last month, the coach’s job was not believed to be under threat, though it is unclear if any of this information has the chance to change that.


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