In this article I’m going to cover the situation with Jon Gruden and the NFL. I am planning another article to cover Racism in the NFL to determine whether or not it is a systemic problem, and a different article to find out why there aren’t more black owners. I’m going to talk first
In 2021 E-mails surfaced about Jon Gruden that he wrote during his tenure with ESPN as an analyst, 2009 – 2017. There were what many would consider racist, misogynistic, and homophobic comments made in those e-mails. I’m going to examine each comment individually.
Read the MSN Article: MSN Story
It all started during the investigation into Washington for workplace misconduct. During the investigation e-mails were discovered sent by Jon Gruden to then General Manager of Washing, Bruce Allen. In those e-mails, Gruden refers to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell as a “faggot” and a “clueless anti football pussy”. The 2nd of those comments, shouldn’t even be an issue. Whether or not Roger Goodell is a “clueless anti football pussy”, could be open for debate, but not something I’m going to address in this article.
As for the homo-phobic slur, it could easily be explained by the time and place he grew up. That does not excuse the comment however, nor make it ok. He did issue an apology after the emails came out; I’ll address that later in this article. If everyone who made a stupid comment should have to resign, there would be very few people left to work. In other words, one comment made in bad taste certainly should destroy someone’s career. But this is just the beginning...
Here's a link to the NY Times Article: NY Times Jon Gruden
Gruden also made comments about the player protests that were sweeping through the NFL, that “they should be fired”. I’ve addressed this in a previous article and on my podcast. The NFL teams/owners can fire any player that violates their contract, because they’re privately owned teams. Kneeling/Protesting during the national anthem could certainly fall under the “conduct” portion of a contract.
AT Article: Men in Women's Sports
TBP Podcast: Trans Women Dominating
Washington Post: Jon Gruden's emails not surprising
He made a comment about then Vice-President Joe Biden that he was a “nervous clueless pussy”. This comment is more of a freedom of speech discussion. If he actually worked for a team at the time he made the comment, then perhaps he could be fired violating something under the “Conduct” portion of a contract. But he didn’t, he worked for ESPN at the time. I think this comment is just something most articles are using to pile on.
As is the comment Gruden made about the ESPN award Kaitlynn Jenner received. Male in Female sports is something I’ve address in a 3-part article and my podcast. Kaitlynn Jenner himself has said men shouldn’t compete against women.
Americas Tribune Article: Men in Women's Sports Part 2
In addition to the comments made about Goodell personally, Gruden also made a comment that “he shouldn’t call Fisher and tell him to draft queers.” It is in reference to then Rams head coach Jeff Fisher drafting openly gay player Michael Sam. Fisher made a statement that “A player’s sexual orientation would never, and should never, be part of the decision-making process.”
Michael Sam’s collegiate football resume would indicate Fisher’s point, that they draft the best player for the position. Gruden’s comments regarding Gay players in the NFL is disgusting, slanderous, and takes away from Michael Sam’s skill as a football player. It’s abhorrent to say that teams in the NFL are drafting players using anything other than skill to make decisions and it's that type of corrosion that could destroy the NFL.
It was also discovered that Gruden and Allen were sent e-mails with topless Washington cheerleaders. While I don’t think Gruden or Allen took the pictures, they certainly didn’t report it. This is troubling because neither of them seemed troubled enough to do something.
Gruden also wrote a comment to a sexist meme that was posted saying “Nice Job Roger”, indicating he didn’t like the decision to hire female refs. My opinion is if a female can do the job, then it shouldn’t matter. He also made a comment about NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith stating that, “Dumboriss Smith has lips the size of michellin tires.”
While the first 1 or 2 items I mentioned aren’t troubling by themselves. But coupled with everything I listed above, it begins to show us that maybe Jon Gruden isn’t a good person.
The question of whether or not the Raiders or the NFL had cause to fire or suspend him isn’t clear yet. But at the very least you would have to wonder who’s going to hire him to coach or do football analysis given his history shown by these emails. Even if it turns out that they didn’t have cause to fire him, I see Gruden becoming a “Kaepernick” of coaches.
I’ll do another article on the case Jon Gruden brought against the NFL in the coming weeks, but I want to close with my personal opinion of him. Gruden is not a very good head coach, Superbowl win notwithstanding. I believe he’s responsible for the end of Chris Simms career, and I do believe he is the “Kaepernick” of coaches. I don’t believe the baggage he will now bring with him is worth his value as a coach, just as I don’t believe Kaepernick’s skill is worth the baggage he brings.
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Johnathan D. Edmonds
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