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NFL

Gruden Is Out But The Fallout Could Tarnish The Whole NFL

Jon Gruden is no longer the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. Four years into a 10-year contract, the now-former coach has resigned from his position with immediate effect following the leak of offensive emails he sent in the past decade.

The content of these emails, which were not only racist, but misogynistic, sexist and homophobic, left Gruden in an impossible position to carry on with the Raiders. It also provoked a furious response on social media.

Rich Bisaccia, who has been an assistant coach for many years, has been appointed as the interim head coach for the Raiders going forward.

We’re not going to report on what Gruden said in these emails as it is abhorrent and requires no additional publicity.

Instead, what we are going to do is ask an important question:

Why did Jon Gruden feel so comfortable to send these emails to several other high-ranking officials and personnel in the NFL, specifically at the Washington Football Club?

Kaepernick And Fisher Proven Right?

You may recall the furore that surrounded Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, and his teammate Erik Fisher, after they both protested against racism and brutality against the black community both in and outside the NFL by kneeling when the national anthem was played.

Many people, including the then president of the United States, vilified the pair and others that supported the stance.

Since then, Kaepernick and Fisher have effectively been black balled from the NFL, free agents with no team willing to take a chance with them.

These leaked emails from Gruden, when he was working at ESPN on Monday Night Football, to an associate at the Washington Football Team, suggest that Kaepernick and Fisher may well have been right.

Racism Behind The Scenes?

The NFL has long been accused of being racist, homophobic, and misogynist behind the scenes and while officially the organization may portray itself as all-inclusive and accepting of these issues, evidence suggests that this is just purely lip-service.

The investigation into the toxic workplace at the Washington Football Team has reportedly seen a tranche of 650,000 emails reviewed. A handful of which pertain to Gruden and his comments.

Many people would like to know what the NFL has found in the other 650,000 emails which have not yet been released.

And another question is why did Gruden feel so comfortable sending such inflammatory emails to high-ranking officials in the NFL? What culture existed for him to feel comfortable doing so and how far did that pervade the organization?

DeShaun Watson Example Used To Defend Gruden

On Twitter, the fact that the NFL have yet to ban Houston Texans quarterback DeShaun Watson, despite him having multiple sexual assault lawsuits hanging over him, has been used by many to try and defend Gruden.

In essence, they claim Gruden has been treated differently to Watson due to ‘woke liberals”.

Furthermore, others have defended the coach by saying that such language is used ‘every day’ in the confines of the NFL locker rooms and board rooms.

While Watson’s actions, if proven guilty, are abhorrent and worth of equal condemnation and losing his job, the fact that this is being made a ‘racial’ issue by some on Twitter, rather than condemning someone for their admitted misdemeanors is part of the issue. An issue neatly encapsulated by this Tweet:

There is no doubt that the NFL needs to address how it deals with players accused of such horrific crimes. There have been plenty of misjudgements in the past on that and this by no means excuses what Watson has done, or whether he should be punished equally harshly.

It should also be noted at this juncture that the NFL, in their settlement with Colin Kaepernick when the former QB brought a suit against the organization, agreed that similar racist, homophobic and sexist emails that Kaepernick was aware of, would not be made public as part of that settlement.

Gruden’s resignation was right, but in truth, he should not have been appointed in the first place.

The key now is for the NFL to realise how deep this culture of bullying and hate in any form runs through the organization and to take the right steps to eradicate it. Regardless of the position the person in question holds.

Whether you are black, white, a fan, a quarterback, head coach, or franchise owner or anywhere in between; racism, homophobia and misogyny has no place in the NFL.

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