In a 60 Minutes profile, Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan is seen in the parking lot of his team's stadium surrounded by well-wishers. Presumably, these fans of the popular Jaguars' owner were not the ones who spouted anti-Muslim epithets on the Internet when they learned the Pakistan-born billionaire was buying their football team. Khan tells Byron Pitts that such prejudice only made him more determined and denies rumors that it caused the former owner to offer him an escape from the deal. Pitts' report on Khan's remarkable immigrant's journey to the top of American business will be broadcast on 60 Minutes, Sunday, Oct. 28 at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Some Internet posts seen around the time Khan bought the team referred to the Jaguars' new owner as a "sand monkey" and a "terrorist from Pakistan." Khan, in the U.S. since 1967 when he came here to attend college, says he's heard it before. "[I reacted] the way I reacted most of my life, which is it's not really my problem. It's their problem," he tells Pitts. "It was not Jacksonville's finest moment."
Asked by Pitts if it was true whether former owner Wayne Weaver, embarrassed by the comments, had offered to let him out of the deal, Khan replies, "I wouldn't characterize it that way. I think he was surprised. And he wanted to just make sure that you know, it wasn't giving me pause." Did it? "None whatsoever," says Khan. "As a matter of fact, if it was possible for me to be more determined, it... gave me more determination."
Khan made a fortune in auto parts, particularly a one-piece truck bumper he helped design and then went on to develop to phenomenal success. Today, two-thirds of all cars and trucks sold in the U.S. contain at least one part made by Khan's company, Flex-N-Gate. It was the American dream realized by a 16-year-old who came to the U.S. for college with $500 to his name and worked his way up to the Forbes List of the 400 richest Americans.
He expresses little nostalgia for his native Pakistan, which he says does not offer the same opportunities as the U.S. "See how hard things are? You know, power's going out, it's 108 degrees. It's tough," he tells Pitts on a visit back to his old neighborhood in Lahore. "I think the biggest impediment here is that hope -- and you know, getting to the next stage -- it doesn't matter how hard you work, there are forces that kind of prevent you from being the best you can be."