NFL coach apologises after appearing to praise 9/11 hijackers in team meeting

Sean McDermott made the remarks in a meeting in 2019 and said the hijackers ‘were able to orchestrate attacks to perfection’, according to a report

Harry Latham-Coyle
Friday 08 December 2023 15:05 GMT
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Bills coach Sean McDermott apologises for referencing 9/11 hijackers in team meeting

An NFL head coach has been forced to apologise after making comments appearing to praise the 9/11 hijackers in a team meeting.

Sean McDermott, head coach of the Buffalo Bills, has said that he “regretted” making the reference to a “horrific” event.

Nearly 3,000 were killed on 11 September 2001 when hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania in the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil.

An article published on Substack by NFL reporter Tyler Dunne claimed that McDermott had described the hijackers “as a group of people who were able to get on the same page to orchestrate attacks to perfection” in a team meeting in 2019.

And an emotional McDermott confirmed that he had made the ill-judged comment on Thursday.

“Not only was 9/11 a horrific event in our country’s history, but a day that I lost a good family friend,” McDermott said. “As I mentioned to the team then that I regretted and apologised for me not going a good enough job of communicating my point, I’m going to do the same with the team today.

“So if there’s anyone new, they understand how important that is to me and my family because it’s an important event, a horrific event in our history.”

While this is the first time that McDermott has commented on his remarks publicly, the coach stressed that he had apologised to the team at the time.

Sean McDermott is in his seventh season as coach of the Buffalo Bills

“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,” McDermott explained. “I felt it was important then, and I still feel like it’s important.”

McDermott is in his seventh season as Bills head coach.

The former Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator has transformed the Buffalo franchise into one of the NFL’s best, though is yet to reach a Super Bowl.

The 6-6 Bills are enduring a mixed season and are battling to make the play-offs.

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