Jon Gruden appeared unassailable and untouchable just days ago. has resigned as the coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. He was a favorite of Mark Davis, the Vegas franchise owner. He was in year four on a 10-year contract. This was actually the winning season for the team. And, most importantly, it was the first year of the Vegas franchise’s giddy first year, when the stadium was opened. The new multibillion dollar stadium was built with a high-profile coach.
The New York Times revelations about a trove emails soaked in homophobia, sexism, and racism did not help the former coach. Gruden sent emails mocking the NFL’s efforts to prevent concussions and insulting Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner. Gruden did not play in the NFL, but he was a head coach and managed the concussion flow without ever being put at risk.
Emails exposed the NFL’s multibillion-dollar leviathan as a brightly flashing Achilles heel with a red, flashing Achilles. The weakness of the league is exactly how the powers-that-be speak to players behind closed doors. We pretend that the NFL doesn’t have a racial conflict. Gruden criticized that contradiction with his hypomoric bigotry. To say that this is only one man’s problem is to miss the bigger point.
Gruden’s emails were part of an investigation by the NFL into sexual harassment within the Washington Football Team organisation. Gruden’s email portion — which is the only one that the public has seen — included his belief that the NFL should not be forced to draft “queers” or that it should fire safety Eric Reid because he took a knee during the national song to protest racism, police brutality, and police brutality.
Gruden, even though he wasn’t working for the NFL at that time, was still the voice of ESPN’s Monday Night Football and a former Super Bowl winner coach. He was a strong figure among the NFL’s power brokers.
Gruden, in retrospect, said that an email in which he used the racist trope in describing DeMaurice Smith, NFL Players Association Executive Director, was a single offense. However, this document dump of emails over a seven year period shows a pattern. The NFL’s top brass who rallied behind Gruden this weekend to support his claim that he didn’t have “a blade or racism” in him are looking astonishingly foolish.
Smith was the only person in the NFL who seemed to understand the significance of jump. He stated that Smith was the only one who understood the meaning.
Smith stated, “You know that people sometimes say things behind your back which are racist just as you see people talk about you using thinly coded racist language.”
He said, “Racism such as this is due to the fact that they are at the same table with me and don’t believe someone who looks like them belongs.” “I am sorry that my family must see this, but I would prefer they knew. It will not define me.”
Gruden was fired by the Raiders and NFL for his offensive remarks. These messages also reveal how powerful the sponsors and league leaders think and speak about players and the issues that have surrounded the league in recent decades. Gruden wrote much of his writing for Bruce Allen, former president of Washington Football Team (which had a racist slur against Native Americans as its title) and brother to former Virginia Governor. George Allen lost his presidential and senatorial hopes after he used a racial slur to attack an opponent’s campaign worker (it’s almost like a family tree based on racism). The offensive emails were also sent to several restaurant chain owners, including the founder of Hooters and NFL sponsors.
We have only seen a small portion of Gruden’s emails. And we are not privy to the replies to his musings. Gruden’s emails show a deeper, more systemic rot than the homophobic, racist, sexist and sexist musings of one random jackass. This shows how the power elite revel in the worst aspects of their sport. There will be many more emails.
The majority of the NFL’s workforce is Black. 70% of the NFL’s players are Black. However, the ownership ranks and ranks of team executives almost entirely consist of whites. As we watch the Black athletes’ athleticism and the devastation of Black bodies, the owners of the boxes look down on the fields like a bunch of Caesars.
This setup, along with the need for both a labor and racial discipline, is a recipe for discontent that could lead to the end of the league. We cannot allow Gruden in this league because we fear that it will happen.
Former NFL player Michael Bennett described the NFL as “a segregated business, not an integrated one” because of its segregation between Black labor and white franchise owners. People like Gruden, Bruce Allen, and other high-ranking officials are part of this Jim Crow-like operation procedure. They talk to one another and have similar thoughts. What else can you explain the low number of Black executive and head coaches in so-called thinking jobs. This branch of the NFL’s labor market might have its own water fountain.
It is the same racist and contemptuous attitude towards players that led to the NFL accepting the practice of racial norming as part of concussion settlements. They also suppressed science on brain injuries and conspired against Colin Kaepernick, the Super Bowl quarterback, for kneeling during the anthem in protest of police violence.
The NFL has two options going forward.
It can demand confirmation from Goodell about the league’s plans to hire more Black executive, general managers, and head coaches. Gruden’s comments are intrinsically linked to the reason this league is so regressive in its hiring practices.
Or, the league could be content with a few banal statements and hope thrilling games such as Monday’s brain-melter among the Baltimore Ravens or Indianapolis Colts grab the public’s attention enough to allow them to skate.
The NFL is choosing the former, which means it is choosing a future marked by confrontation. We are likely to see stormy skies ahead, judging by the Gruden defenders who were deployed on Sunday just before the big email drop. It would be a wise decision for the modern-day Caesars to change their course. For less, empires much larger than the NFL’s have fallen apart.