After being exposed as a racist and misogynistic homophobe, Jon Gruden gained immediate entry into professional football’s hall of shame. But the former Las Vegas Raiders coach isn’t the NFL’s only problem.
A mine of toxic emails sent by Gruden surfaced this month as part of an independent investigation into accusations of systemic discrimination brought by former employees of the Washington football team.
If the emails that sealed Gruden’s fate are ever fully examined, they could reveal all kinds of rude behavior behind the scenes.
If the emails that sealed Gruden’s fate are ever scrutinized in detail, as requested by more than 40 former employees and the NFL Players Association, they could reveal all kinds of rude behavior behind the scenes in the league. Notably, they could also justify former quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
When Gruden was an ESPN analyst on “Monday Night Football,” he found receptive readers for the emails he sent to NFL executives from 2010 to 2018, including Bruce Allen, the former franchise president. from Washington. The team fired Allen in December 2019.
And yet, no one in the NFL saw fit to expose Gruden in 2011 when he used a racist trope to describe DeMaurice Smith, the black executive director of the Players Association, in an email to Allen.
Or when Gruden emailed topless photos of Washington’s cheerleaders, taken without their consent, then disparaged the women.
Or when he claimed that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell pressured the St. Louis Rams to select Michael Sam, a gay defensive lineman, in the 2014 draft because of his sexual orientation. Goodell and former Rams coach Jeff Fisher both denied the request.
Or when Gruden tore the NFL apart for hiring women as field officials.
Or when he said black players like Kaepernick and fellow San Francisco 49er Eric Reid should be fired for kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 to protest police brutality and systemic racism.
Indeed, if Gruden hadn’t used homosexual slurs to attack Goodell, he would likely still be mocking the Raiders for the last six years of a 10-year, $ 100 million contract to train the team.
If we’re being honest, the ad hominem assault on Goodell may have forced the NFL itself to disclose Gruden’s damning emails to the New York Times, which led to his ouster. (We still don’t know for sure who leaked the emails.)
And there could be so much more dirt where it’s coming from.
It’s not enough to show us how bad Gruden was. The NFL must publish the 650,000 documents.
Gruden’s toxic emails were just a handful of the 650,000 documents uncovered in the Washington team’s investigation. It’s not enough to show us how bad Gruden was. The NFL must publish the 650,000 documents. This is, to take just one example, the only way to prove that Washington owner Daniel Snyder, the subject of many complaints from former employees, is not as bad as Gruden – or worse.
The NFL fined Snyder $ 10 million in July after reviewing the results of the investigation.
Examining those documents could also prove that Kaepernick and Reid were right when they alleged in a lawsuit that NFL owners had colluded to keep them out of the league. Kaepernick hasn’t played in the NFL since the 2016 season. Reid hasn’t played since 2019.
Kaepernick and Reid reached an out-of-court settlement with the NFL in 2019, apparently for less than $ 10 million combined. It seemed like a hasty resolution at the time. But Kaepernick and Reid could be vindicated – and entitled to larger financial payments – if they now find out what they didn’t know then.
Could the emails also reveal evidence that NFL executives conspired to deny opportunities to black head coaches, offensive and defensive coordinators, directors of player personnel, recruiting directors and general managers? ? Currently, there are only three head coaches of color (Mike Tomlin of Pittsburgh, Brian Flores of Miami and Ron Rivera of Washington) among the 32 teams in the NFL.
Is there any paper trail that can prove the resistance of the league leaders to any attempt by black investors to acquire majority ownership of an NFL franchise? There are no black franchise owners in the NFL, and Jason Wright of Washington is the only black team president.
These paltry numbers, combined with Gruden’s fanaticism, expose the fraud of the NFL’s efforts to appear inclusive and socially evolved.
Putting “End Racism” on the backs of helmets and in end areas where TV cameras are hiding doesn’t prove anything. Likewise, play the unofficial black national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” during the first week of the season.
In what is expected to be Gruden’s last game as an NFL coach, the Raiders looked disheartened in a 20-9 home loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday. It is likely that Gruden had already lost the respect of his players. Defensive end Carl Nassib, the NFL’s first openly gay active player, is said to be popular with his teammates. Gruden’s use of homosexual slurs wouldn’t have been well received in the Vegas locker room.
Meanwhile, the fallout from Gruden’s noxious views continues. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, whom he coached for a Super Bowl championship after the 2002 season, announced Tuesday that they would remove his name from the team’s ring of honor. And Skechers abandoned him as a pitchman.
No matter how lucky he was to be inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame as a Super Bowl-winning coach, she likely died from self-inflicted injuries as well.
So Gruden is gone – but that shouldn’t be the end of the story. All electronic responses from his NFL correspondents should be made public and closely scrutinized. Only then can the league start cleaning up its act.