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Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott used a 9/11 reference in a 2019 team meeting. Why is that a problem?

There are faux pas and then there are ‘Did he really just say that?’ moments. While the Bills head coach had the best intentions, his method was the latter.

There are faux pas and then there are ‘Did he really just say that?’ moments. While the Bills head coach had the best intentions, his method was the latter.

As if the Bills didn’t already have enough on their plate, the team’s head coach has now been forced to address some rather controversial comments that he made some years ago about one of the most tragic moments in American history.

What’s been reported about Sean McDermott?

The Buffalo Bills are not in the best shape at the moment. Sitting on a 6-6 record in the AFC East, the team has seen better days despite pushing the Philadelphia Eagles in a tight 37-34 loss in their last game. With that said, the word is that head coach Sean McDermott is currently safe from the axe. What the 49-year-old is not safe from, however, is the scrutiny that he now faces due to comments that he made during a team meeting just a few years ago. According to a report this week, the Bills coach referenced the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in an attempt to motivate his players during a team meeting.

OK, but what did Sean McDermott allegedly do?

Relying on anonymous Bills sources, including former players, the report brought to light McDermott’s bizarre tactics, more specifically a “9/11 speech” that he gave during the team’s 2019 training camp. McDermott allegedly highlighted the hijackers who perpetrated the awful terrorist attacks, before asking players to consider how they were able to not only create an effective strategy but execute it as well. It’s safe to say, it wasn’t the best choice. When asked about the report on Thursday, McDermott essentially confirmed its accuracy, admitting that he had “ironically” intended to illustrate good team communication with his alleged discourse. McDermott also stated that he immediately spoke to the possibility of offense in 2019.

“It was mentioning 9/11 in the context of the team meeting,” McDermott said. “The goal of the team meeting was about the importance of communication and being on the same page as a team. ...I (apologized) if anyone whatsoever felt a certain type of way coming out of that. ...I didn’t do a good enough job communicating clearly the intent of my message. ...I do plan on meeting with the team (again). It is important to me that we’re all on the same page. ...I regretted and apologized for me not doing a good job of clearly communicating my point.”

It’s worth pointing out that McDermott went on to add that his original intention was to use the 9/11 attacks, an event that he indicated personally cost him loved ones, as a means to push the team given how universally known the event was. “...An important event, a horrific event in our history,” he said.