Amidst the dumpster fire burning out of control at NRG Stadium, you may have read a variety of slings and arrows launched at Easterby from within the Texans organization itself. From Andre Johnson’s now infamous tweet to an “unnamed employee” who called Easterby a “[kitten]ing Idiot”, it sure seemed the team wasn’t full of devotees to the Jim Jones of Houston Football.
Here's what a well-connected league source told me late last week about Jack Easterby/Texans:— Matt Verderame (@MattVerderame) January 28, 2021
“The guys I trust, including a guy big in Houston, he wants to kill him. He goes ‘this guy is a f***ing idiot. He’s got the owner’s ear and he’s going to ruin the whole organization.’”
When Sports Illustrated ran their expose on Easterby, it certainly did its job of exposing Cal McNair’s dark little secret of “culture infusion” that led to the former team chaplain’s very unforgiving rise to power. In the wake of that, Easterby allegedly threatened and cajoled multiple staff members into telling him who was leaking these mean things to the press.
According to three sources, Easterby told multiple people inside the building that he had sued, or planned to sue, SI for defamation, and had therefore been provided with a list identifying all sources for that story. That is untrue: SI has not been notified of any lawsuit nor disclosed the identity of any of its sources.
Multiple people who have worked with Easterby also say that he has told people in both Houston and New England, including the McNairs, that the Kraft family, which owns the Patriots, is behind the negative press about him. Some of these people also say he has spread a story that the Krafts are investors in SI or had directly funded SI’s reporting. That is also untrue: SI has no financial relationship with the Krafts or any of their business ventures, including the Patriots. The Krafts declined SI’s interview requests for that story. Easterby denies telling colleagues that the Kraft family has an ownership stake in SI, and McNair says he does not believe SI is funded by the Kraft family.
It would seem that since Easterby can’t find the culprits, he’s talked Cal McNair and Nick Caserio into ridding the organization of everyone they’re positive didn’t leak unflattering information.
From the worst off-field personnel move of 2020 when Houston fired Amy Palcic, who many considered one of—if not THE—cream of the crop in NFL public relations, to ditching the entire beloved equipment staff, to yesterday’s news that the only team president the Texans have ever had, Jamey Rootes, resigned amidst all the Kool-Aid chicanery, the franchise is in a total freefall. Yes, I’m sure Jamey didn’t quit simply because he asked you to buy my book.
Lots of people in the Texans organization were miffed at the end-around pulled off in the GM search. Rootes, evidently, was among them. https://t.co/oFtQW774lv— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) February 10, 2021
*The director of football administration, Kevin Krajcovic, a 15-year employee most recently involved in managing the team’s salary cap;
*The equipment manager, Mike Parson, (13 years with the Texans) and his staff;
*And Doug West, who was the team’s director of practice facility development and special projects.
That’s been West’s title for the last two years. Previous to that, he had previously spent five years as the Texans’ vice president of football operations.
We find it worth noting, as Krajcovic moves on, that Easterby claims on his resume to have a background in NFL cap management.
We also find it worth noting that the aforementioned title for West of “vice president of football operations’’ is one that owner Cal McNair shifted in 2020 (“executive vice president of football operations’’) to none other than Easterby. Oddly, though, the Texans website newly says that “Easterby was named the executive vice president of football operations on January 28, 2020.’’ He therefore received a promotion to a position he already held.
What can we infer from all this?
Jack Easterby’s rise to power is now complete.
The Texans are remaking the staff in his image. Worst of all, they don’t care if they alienate Deshaun Watson, Andre Johnson, J.J. Watt, Justin Reid, or anyone else who has ever worked or played for the team.
Mike Parson and his entire equipment staff are incredible people who went above and beyond to help every player in the locker room every single day.— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) February 7, 2021
A great man and a great staff who shouldn’t be out of work for long.
Anybody would be lucky to have them. pic.twitter.com/66hSlVlIpq
You alienate Deshaun, you lose the locker-room. You alienate Andre Johnson, you lose everyone who ever played for the organization.— John P. Lopez (@LopezOnSports) January 12, 2021
Where does all this end?
Back when fans were unhappy with former general manager Rick Smith, his closeness with the McNair family earned him the moniker “Uncle Rick”. Well, if Smith was an uncle, what does this make Easterby, who clearly has far more power now than Smith ever did? At this stage, former Texans employees should all feel relief - the sort that comes to hostages once a bank robbery has been foiled. They’ve escaped the vault where they were held at gunpoint and are now free to return to normal lives. Sure, they’ll all have a shared PTSD bond, but they’ve returned to the light of a non-Easterby controlled world.
The fanbase is also no longer beholden to the Houston Texans.
We’ve done our part to support this team through thick and thin, but when the owner puts a charlatan before the players, employees, fans, and the rest of the world, the implied contract between fan and team is broken. There are 31 other NFL teams that would be happy to have a fanbase as passionate and loyal as the one Houston has enjoyed for the last 19 years. Time to move on since Cal McNair has shown no signs of selling the team or firing Jack Easterby.
Giddy with excitement to read the inevitable news that Jack Easterby has been promoted to team president and the colossally moronic sales pitch from the #Texans that this is a good thing because it shows Easterby is no longer involved with the football side of the organization.— battleredblog (@battleredblog) February 10, 2021