Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott has apologized for a resurfaced 2019 speech in which he referenced the September 11 attacks on the Twin Towers.
In the speech, McDermott told his players to come together as a team, in which he used the terrorists on 9/11 as an example.
He asked the NFL players in the locker room questions about how the attacks were executed and even referenced how the hijackers got on the same page for the attacks.
After the speech resurfaced, McDermott released an apology, stating, “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.”
Sean McDermott’s Intent Was ‘Communication’
McDermott explained that his intent behind the speech “was the importance of communication and being on the same page as a team.”
“I brought everybody together and said this was the goal, this was the intent, and I apologize if anyone whatsoever felt a certain type of way coming out of that meeting,” McDermott told reporters.
Adding, “If anyone misinterpreted or didn’t understand my message, I apologize. I didn’t do a good enough job of communicating clearly the intent of my message. That was about the importance of communication and that everyone needs to be on the same page, ironically enough. So that was important to me then and still is now.”
The Buffalo Bills head coach also emphasized that he understands 9/11 was “a horrific event in our country’s history.” He even “lost a good family friend” in the attacks.
The 9/11 speech resurfaced by Journalist Ty Dunne, who released a piece titled, “The McDermott Problem.”
“At St. John Fisher College in Pittsford, N.Y., McDermott’s morning address began innocently enough,” Dunne wrote. “He told the entire team they needed to come together. But then, sources on-hand say, he used a strange model: the terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001. He cited the hijackers as a group of people who were all able to get on the same page to orchestrate attacks to perfection. One by one, McDermott started asking specific players in the room questions. ‘What tactics do you think they used to come together?’ A young player tried to methodically answer. ‘What do you think their biggest obstacle was?’ A veteran answered, ‘TSA,’ which mercifully lightened the mood.”
After the speech resurfaced, the Buffalo Bills head coach explained to the media on Thursday that he plans to speak with his team again about the incident.
“As I mentioned to the team [in 2019] I regretted and apologized for me not doing a good job of clearly communicating my point,” McDermott told reporters Thursday. “I’m going to do the same with the team today when they’re done meeting, so that if there’s anyone new that they understand how important that is to me and my family because it’s an important event, a horrific event, in our history.”
Bills Owner Terry Pegula Releases Statement On Subject
“Sean is a proud, Christian, determined man,” Bills owner Terry Pegula said when the franchise extended McDermott’s coaching contract through 2027. “I remember before his interview for the Bill’s head coaching job thinking about him being a two-time National Prep Wrestling Champ. I thought to myself, you wrestled, you’re determined, you love what you’re doing, and you won. He comes to the Bills every day and will never ask anyone, player or coach, to do anything he wouldn’t do.”
The Bills have made the playoffs five out of the six seasons with Sean McDermott as head coach.