Houston Texans owner Bob McNair came to Jerry Richardson’s defense Sunday, saying the Panthers owner could have been joking when he made sexual and racial comments that led to significant financial settlements and ultimately resulted in him selling the team.

The NFL is investigating Jerry Richardson for workplace misconduct after an explosive Sports Illustrated article in December detailed four settlements the Carolina Panthers owner made with former employees.  

“I hope this thing turns out that he’s innocent. They alleged. I don’t know,” McNair said at the NFL annual meetings. “Some of the comments he might have made could have been made jokingly and misunderstood. I’m sure he didn’t mean to offend anybody.”

Via USA TODAY Sports:

“I think his regret is that he didn’t fight things as they came out,” McNair said, alluding to the reported out-of-court settlements that [Panthers owner Jerry] Richardson struck with alleged victims.

McNair, who called Richardson “a great owner,” stunningly tried to defend the alleged actions.

“Some of the comments could have been made jokingly,” McNair said. “I’m sure he didn’t mean to offend anybody.”

McNair has had his own controversial comments.. In the fall, he apologized for saying, “We can’t have the inmates running the prison,” during an owners-only meeting.

In 2015, he donated and then retracted $10,000 for opponents of an equal rights ordinance in Houston. And in between, The Guardian reported that McNair was the NFL’s largest political donor in 2016.  

It’s time for the NFL to get a new breed of NFL owners, ones that aren’t decrepit racists.