It has been over a week since Brian Gaine was fired as the Houston Texans GM but there’s still controversy. Here’s why he must come forward to mitigate.
The Houston Texans have been mired in a public relations fiasco for the past week since the word of general manager Brian Gaine being fired last Friday afternoon. In a move that was surprising to many, the team decided to rid themselves of a situation that had apparently had gotten way out of control.
Relationships were deteriorating, a controversy was brewing and it ultimately it led to a man to lose the job that he had for just a mere 17 months.
We all know who’s running the show on Kirby Drive — it’s Bill O’Brien and there’s no if’s, and’s or but’s about it. The relationship between the two had apparently been eroding, likely because of the conservative approach Gaine decided to take with building the team.
Not trading up for Andre Dillard in the first round of this season’s draft, not going after the big fish in free agency and sitting atop a mound of cash in cap space obviously frustrated many within the organization. However, I didn’t expect his ouster this early. With the fallout of rumors — I’m positive some are true and some aren’t — of what led to it certainly makes his firing plausible.
The Houston Texans thought by firing Gaine, they could sweep this short-lived era under the rug and start out fresh.
I’m sure they even thought that they would be able to poach current New England Patriots’ GM Nick Caserio but after the Pats’ decided to levy tampering charges against the franchise, they had to do an about-face and continue their search for another GM.
I had honestly thought that the Pats’ had given Caserio their blessing in regard to the Houston Texans being able to interview him but with the aforementioned charges, we can definitely assert that it wasn’t so and they want to keep Caserio in their stable.
Now they’ve got to quickly search for a GM that wasn’t their first choice; not only that but it has to be a better one than their predecessor.
What an absolute mess…
Speaking of charges — a report has surfaced in regard to a former Houston Texans‘ security coordinator filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that names the franchise and Gaine in its contents.
A.J. Perez of USA Today wrote earlier this week that Jeff Pope, who was terminated from employment with the team back May 8, alleges that Gaine targeted African-American employees in a wave of firings during his time with the team.
In the complaint, Pope lists eight other employees who lost their jobs because of the reasoning behind Pope’s 4,500-word testimony that was submitted to the EEOC.
"“It appeared, and I believe, that he was targeting all minorities in leadership positions and was set to replace them with non-African-Americans. Which he did,” Pope wrote in the complaint. “In short, every African American in the building understood that not too many of us could congregate or be seen interacting with each other even during lunch because it did not look good to the powers that be.”"
Pope also said, which was likely the most impactful quote out of his commentary, that “I believe I was discriminated against and terminated on the basis of my race and color.”
He also makes mention of a scolding he received back in December for eating lunch in the cafeteria with the players, who are primarily African-Americans, indicating that there was a sort of unofficial code of “not too many of [African-Americans] could congregate or be seen interacting with each other … because it didn’t look good to the powers that be.”
Los Angeles Chargers’ wide receivers coach Phil McGeoghan commented on Gaine’s character, who’s worked with him over the years, including back in 2017 with the Buffalo Bills when Gaine was in charge of player personnel:
Amy Palcic, vice president of communications/spokeswoman for the Houston Texans, denied that Gaine’s firing was tied
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to the charges and didn’t comment further because of the pending litigation.
The EEOC will investigate the charges and if there’s enough evidence to pursue, the Houston Texans could be sued for what Pope alleges as wrongful termination of employment.
At this point, I’m not sure who or what to believe amid all of this controversy but I will say this: Gaine needs to come forward and categorically deny the allegations to clear his name if the charges are without merit.
I’m sure the press is flooding his lines of contact for a comment but at the time of his writing, he has had not had one. I’d recommend that he have an attorney — to which I’m sure he already has on retainer — to help him carefully construct his response.
If Gaine allows this to continue to go on, the narrative will change and people will believe that the charges are true, if not already.
So ultimately, this is what Gaine needs to do as Pope is making a strong case to present.
We’ll see how this pans out — I’m just appalled at how much of a media circus act this offseason has been for not only the Houston Texans but for the Rockets as well.