(ARTICLE ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON OCTOBER 21, 2021)
TREVOR TEUBNER & DANTE S. MCLEOD
Associate Sports Editor & Sports Editor
Only a couple of weeks after Urban Meyer’s bad look, it’s now time for Jon Gruden to take center stage. After everything that happened with Meyer, it couldn’t really get worse right? Wrong. Very, very wrong.
Jon Gruden has only been the head coach of the Raiders since 2018 but has already found himself out of a job even after signing a massive 10-year, $100 million deal, according to the New York Times article, “Jon Gruden’s Emails: What We’ve Learned So Far,” by Emmanuel Morgan. Emails leaked during Gruden’s time working as a color analyst in ESPN contained derogatory statements about the commissioner of the league, statements against the hiring of female coaches in the league and saying that the league forcing anyone to draft “queers” was stupid. All these things and more could be found in these emails. The emails were leaked by the New York Times, and Jon Gruden had resigned shortly after.
The emails were leaked after the NFL had finished conducting a long investigation of matters going on inside of the Washington Football Team’s organization. They had been sent from Gruden to Bruce Allen, former president of the team. The emails were a terrible look into not just the issues of Washington, but the league in general.
The Raiders players and owner were shocked about the content of these emails. Some people on social media argued that Gruden should be allowed to keep his job, as all the emails had been sent out before he even worked in the NFL as head coach of the Raiders. However, the Raiders and the league wouldn’t hear it, and even though Gruden resigned, he really didn’t have a choice
There is a questionable reaction from Raiders owner Mark Davis. His comments may show that his view on the situation isn’t a concerned one
At first, Morgan states that Davis considered the emails puzzling. It seemed like Davis cared about the state of crisis going on.
However, when Gruden resigned, Davis did not have anything to say and referred those with questions to take them up with the NFL; he claimed they could answer them, per Morgan’s article. This response did not sit well with Stephen A. Smith, a popular sports talk show host on the ESPN show “First Take.”
In one video from the show on YouTube, Smith stated that “Mark Davis told on himself with his Jon Gruden response.”
To further elaborate, Smith feels that Davis had no intentions of firing Gruden if Gruden had not resigned. Basically, Davis might have not found any issue with what Gruden had previously put online.
Smith goes on to say that this behavior from Davis shows that Davis does not care about the minority owners in the league. Minority owners and other minorities that are in the league have been shown that they do not matter.
In the same video, Dan Orlovsky, a guest speaker, stated that “this is the opportunity to make it very clear the things that you stand for and the things that you don’t stand for.” Davis’s comments make his stance on this issue uncertain.
So, what is going to happen now? Well, the new interim head coach of the Raiders, according to the New York Times, is Rich Bisaccia, the team’s current special team’s coordinator. In addition, the NFLPA’s executive director DeMaurice Smith, who was also mentioned in the emails, now wants the league to release all the emails that they had found from the original investigation. Smith wants these emails released because now is the time for the league to be transparent.
There were most likely emails from other coaches/staff or even players that could have contained something as horrible as what Gruden’s emails did. If the league does decide to release them, then perhaps the NFL could take an opportunity to shed all the racism, sexism and so many other things that have been an issue with the league for the last decade or so. However, releasing emails like that is tricky business, but it might be very important.
Of course, if there is more gunk that is yet to be uncovered that will hurt the NFL right now. However, this could be a great opportunity to prove to the rest of America and the world that the NFL is ready to step up and make a change for the better. By holding other people accountable, the NFL could prove that everything they have done to promote diversity was not simply an empty effort.
That might not happen at all, and it might damage the reputation of the shield forever. On the other hand, this could secretly be the best thing to happen to the NFL in years.