Forgive me if you’ve heard this before, but the Houston Texans are in the news for something other than playing solid team football. Much of the NFL community was abuzz Wednesday after learning the Texans had fired the team’s Vice President of Communications, Amy Palcic — a PR figure widely respected throughout league circles. Palcic was the first and only woman to have full PR responsibilities for an NFL team, and was the winner of the 2017 Rozelle Award for best PR staff. In addition to her professional accolades, she has been considered a valued member of the Houston community; helping Texans star J.J. Watt’s foundation in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, as well as other local programs and events.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Palcic was told the reason for her firing was due to her no longer being a “cultural fit.”
A quick primer on the Houston Texans — since the team was founded in 1999, they are the only NFL team to have never advanced beyond the divisional round of the playoffs. They’ve had 12 quarterbacks in the last 10 years, and are now on their 4th head coach. They have never had a league MVP. The team currently sits at 2–6, having fired their head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien earlier this season, less than one year after he traded away DeAndre Hopkins, arguably the best wide receiver in the league, for the football equivalent of a bag of rocks. You must be wondering, surely this culture that must be preserved has plans for the future though, right? In next year’s draft the team doesn’t have a single first or second round pick — they will also have the 9th lowest cap space in the entire NFL.
My immediate reaction to the response of Palcic’s firing was how impressed I was that someone outside of football operations garnered so much respect and admiration from such a large contingent of the NFL community. My second reaction was to think about this ‘culture’ of the Houston Texans that must be upheld. Being let go is never easy, but despite the outpouring of admiration and well-wishes from across the sports media landscape, the most encouraging sentiment actually came from the team that fired Palcic — the team whose owner, Bob McNair, said during the 2017 season in reference to players kneeling during the national anthem, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison.” So yes, it was the Texans who gave Palcic the best compliment of all — she wasn’t a fit for their culture.