- Sean McDermott acknowledged that he referenced the terrorist attacks
- The Bills coach said his ‘intent was to discuss the importance of communication’
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Sean McDermott has responded to a report which revealed he used the 9/11 attacks as an example of teamwork in a 2019 speech.
The team meeting, chronicled on Tyler Dunne’s ‘Go Long’ website, is said to have happened during training camp at St. John Fisher College in Pittsford, New York.
‘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.’
McDermott, who was described by an unnamed source as a ‘robot’ in the piece, acknowledged the truthfulness of the story on Thursday.
Sean McDermott admitted Thursday that he referenced 9/11 in a team meeting in 2019
‘My intent in the meeting that day was to discuss the importance of communication and being on the same page with the team,’ he said.
‘I regretted mentioning 9/11 in my message that day, and I immediately apologized to the team.
‘Not only was 9/11 a horrific event in our country’s history, but a day that I lost a good family friend.
He continued, ‘One player didn’t seem – that I didn’t make my point clear enough. So right then and there I said we’re getting together as a team and I’m going to address this with everyone.
‘That was before practice. 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.
‘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 Bills are 6-6 heading into a crucial Week 14 matchup against the Chiefs on Sunday
In discussing McDermott’s questionable choice of words in 2019, another unnamed player told Dunne that the coach’s ‘social skills are lacking.’
‘That’s one where maybe he heard it on a podcast. Next episode! That’s not the one to lead with,’ the player said. ‘He was trying to bring the team together. It was a horrible, horrible reference. He missed the mark.’
McDermott has been the Bills coach since 2017, leading the team to five postseason berths in six seasons and a 68-41 record to date.
However, the reigning AFC East champs are in danger of missing the playoffs this year with a 6-6 record heading into Week 14.