In the writing world, there’s a term that automatically de-legitimizes everything it’s associated with: vanity press. Often run by people who started out just stroking their own egos, most vanity press publishers only produce work the authors pay to release. You’re essentially buying your way into something that traditionally only happens through above average talent, skill, and hard work. This routinely produces “authors” who have no business operating under that title and lowers the value of the collective literary work of gifted writers everywhere by watering down the market.
At this juncture, the Houston Texans are the vanity press of the NFL. The saga of Jack Easterby and how he’s managed to utterly infect the Texans is well documented. Like a virus that takes down its host, the stories are insidious and frightful. From socially awkward interactions to outright HR violations that would shutter any normal business, the crimes of Jack Easterby against those invested in the Houston Texans are too numerous to catalog. How the Texans haven’t been slapped with a dozen lawsuits by now is mind-boggling. As with any other situation that seems bleak and dreadful, most people cope by clinging tenaciously to some glimmer of hope, fictional or otherwise.
This past weekend, we had the pleasure of hanging out with my two favorite Houston sports media personalities, Steph Stradley and Seth Payne, during the 25 Hour BRB PodPocalypse. Seth always has fascinating insights, delivered in a charmingly humorous manner.
We imagined what the voice mails with trade proposals for Deshaun Watson sounded like. Jim Irsay’s was my favorite. https://t.co/I2JLTNl5k7— Seth C. Payne (@SethCPayne) February 26, 2021
Surely there’s a Houston sports bar/comedy club missing a Seth Payne.
There’s a life coaching agency missing a Steph Stradley. Steph’s insights are keen, informed, and presented through the lens of a trusted friend. So when Steph voiced her view on what’s happening with the Houston Texans organization right now, her words cut straight to the chase, slicing through any hope one might have that Cal McNair would come to his senses and #FireEasterby
Think of the person in your life who you like and trust the most, who makes you feel good about yourself. That’s who Jack Easterby is to Cal McNair right now.
Nepotism is certainly not a thing to value in modern culture. When it’s driven by sycophancy, it’s truly ugly. I've said it before and I will say it again: If Jack Easterby sincerely cared for the McNairs and the Texans, he would resign. Yet he hasn’t, which calls everything he says he stands for into question. Allowing your owner to choose you over a once-in-a-generation franchise quarterback shows Easterby also has no clue what it takes to build a championship football team.
McNair through words/deeds cares more about Easterby than Watson or anyone. Who is good with that? Who wants to lose to a non-football guy? Who wants to play for and root for the guy who destroyed the team? He controls "every facet of the organization."— Stephanie Stradley (@StephStradley) March 5, 2021
Blows my mind every day https://t.co/dOcesgbKoY pic.twitter.com/asmZ5JYkfE
As fans, there’s no fighting this. There's no burying your head in the sand and hoping it goes away. There’s no amount of Kool-Aid anyone can drink to make this okay.
Fans feel different ways. IMO, I’m not sure there were many times with “optimism and confidence.” Watson was the only hope in recent times. That’s it.— Stephanie Stradley (@StephStradley) March 8, 2021
2021 was hope of a fresh start, authentic, smart leadership. Choosing Easterby over Watson and everyone is a daily mind blown. https://t.co/nnyU1i2QtY pic.twitter.com/sXhFP3JNnN
We can flip back through the history books to Bob McNair’s ill-fated “inmates running the prison” comment as a potential catalyzing event for all this. Whether that was merely a symptom of Houston’s rancid culture or the wound that allowed it to infect the organization, nothing good has happened since. That comment opened the door for Easterby to boogie right in with his Bullwinkle J. Moose bag of carpet bagging tricks. Since that fateful comment, Houston has lost Duane Brown, Jadeveon Clowney, Tyrann Mathieu, DeAndre Hopkins, J.J. Watt and is now trying desperately not to lose Deshaun Watson.
Having a snake oil salesman running the team makes Colts ownership look enticing. Think on that for a moment as you re-listen to the parody voicemail above. The only hope remaining is either the McNairs sell the Texans (and take the money to open a chain of Easterby Mystic Yoga Huts where he teaches people the fine art of toxic positivity) or Gandalf shows up and blasts Grima out of the picture, awakening Cal McNair from his slumber. Neither is likely, but I’d take Gandalf and the points based on the current line in Vegas.
Maybe the states of Tennessee and Texas can work a trade, sending the Texans to Nashville in exchange for the Titans. At least that way, we’d get Mike Vrabel, Derrick Henry, and the Oilers’ records back. In any event, prepare for the nuclear winter of Texans fandom. It’s coming whether we believe it or not.