NFL’s Hypocrisy Is Showing – Gruden Pays While Others Still Play
After Jon Gruden resigned as head coach of the Oakland Raiders, we take a look at how the NFL has handled other controversial issues
Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden resigned earlier this week after The New York Times publicized emails from the coach containing offensive remarks. The emails sent by the Super Bowl-winning coach between 2011-2018 have been called “racist, misogynistic, and homophobic.”
More via the New York Times:
[Gruden] denounced the emergence of women as referees, the drafting of a gay player and the tolerance of players protesting during the playing of the national anthem, according to emails reviewed by The Times.
After his resignation, Gruden apologized:
“I have resigned as Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction. Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff, and fans of Raider Nation. I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone.”
Gruden’s resignation came as a shock to many given the NFL’s tolerance for bad – let alone criminal – behavior by its highly compensated players.
The NFL has fined players for wearing Christian headbands and going to church … but yet the League continues to employ players guilty of anti-Semitic remarks, domestic violence, and even felony assault.
Washington Football Team’s Investigation
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What ultimately led to Gruden’s resignation was an NFL investigation into an entirely different matter.
Investigators uncovered the emails while looking into allegations that the Washington Football Team created a hostile work environment for women within the organization.
The results of that investigation are under wraps prompting attorneys for the alleged harassment victims to call the NFL on the carpet over Gruden emails going public while any damning WFT findings remain protected:
“If the NFL felt it appropriate to release these offensive emails from Jon Gruden … it must also release the findings related to the actual target of that investigation. Our clients and the public at large deserve transparency and accountability. If not, the NFL and Roger Goodell must explain why they appear intent on protecting the Washington Football Team and owner Dan Snyder at all costs.”
Some people feel that the League only released the emails to punish Gruden and distract from the WFT’s failings.
While the League didn’t release the findings, they did fine the Washington Football Team a whopping $10 million. And, Dan Snyder had to “relinquish day-to-day operations” of the club.
Dan Snyder is worth $2.6 billion, so a $10 million fine is a drop in the bucket.
No one working for the WFT was fired over the scandal, and the NFL directed no punishment towards anyone besides Snyder.
Domestic Abusers Still In The League
Then there is the league’s darkest problem: the prevalence of domestic violence among its players. The list of NFL players arrested for domestic violence is a long one. While the league banished some players, many continued to play in the league after their legal troubles.
Reuben Foster, a former first-round draft pick, was waived by the 49ers after being charged with domestic violence. The aforementioned WFT claimed him off waivers which was a heavily criticized move.
Reuben played for the WFT for two seasons before being released. He is now a free agent.
Former Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy was also allowed to continue in the league following legal troubles involving hitting and threatening his girlfriend.
Hardy was only suspended for four games following a two-month investigation. He later signed with the Cowboys, again to much controversy. Hardy eventually left football and joined the UFC, another sports league rife with domestic abuse problems.
Standout wide receiver Brandon Marshall has a very long rap sheet including multiple charges of domestic violence. Despite that Marshall enjoyed a 12-year career in the NFL without any form of significant punishment.
These are just a few instances of the league letting domestic abusers off with a slap on the wrist.
While the league has adopted a stricter policy following the Ray Rice incident, the legacy of the NFL harboring abusers remains.
At the same time, Jon Gruden will likely never coach in the NFL again.
NFL’s Turns Blind Eye To Anti-Semitic Remarks
So how does the League treat offensive remarks? The NFL, like several other sports leagues, is no stranger to anti-Semitism.
Former Eagle and current LA Ram DeSean Jackson shared several anti-Semitic quotes attributed to Hitler with his 1+ million followers.
DeSean Jackson, posts a quote from Hitler, says he’s not anti-Semitic and then highlights the particularly anti-Semitic part.
As an Eagles fan, this is disgusting. Where is the response from the team and the NFL? pic.twitter.com/MFPmz0PyOY
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) July 7, 2020
Jackson was not fined or punished by the NFL or his team. Instead, the wide receiver pledged to “educate” himself on the matter.
So I ask you: did DeSean Jackson face the same level of League and public scrutiny as Jon Gruden? If not, why?
Buccaneers Respond To Coach Jon Gruden Controversy
The reaction of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is perhaps the most offensive to those who find the double standards nauseating.
After decades as a second-tier team, the Bucs hired Jon Gruden in 2002. That same year, the Bucs won the Super Bowl.
As befits a man of his accomplishments, Gruden was added to the team’s Ring of Honor in the stadium.
With the latest news, the Tampa Bay Bucaneers just announced they were removing John Gruden from the Ring of Honor.
Fair, you might say? After all, Gruden said some nasty things. But if the League and the Bucs are trying to make some kind of statement about morality and accountability, they aren’t.
Last year, the Bucs signed free agent wide receiver Antonio Brown. Last year, Brown pleaded no contest to a felony burglary charge, among other crimes. He got probation and community service.
Now? He’s a starting wide receiver for the Bucs.
It doesn’t end there, either. Just last week, the Bucs signed cornerback Richard Sherman, who was charged with multiple crimes this summer – including DUI, reckless endangerment, and criminal trespassing.
During that incident, Sherman tried to physically break into his in-laws’ home, acting violently. His father-in-law had to pick up a gun and pepper spray Sherman to stop him from breaking the door down.
That Gruden’s offensive emails get him removed from the Ring of Honor, while Brown and Sherman are starting players, underscores a hypocrisy reverberating through the NFL that many find unacceptable.
A Dark Theory About the NFL’s Motivations
So why did Gruden fall so hard when others merely stumbled?
Some believe this started because Jon Gruden was critical of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Was the leak Gruden’s punishment for going against the all-powerful commish?
No one knows just yet but some are speculating that this whole debacle could lead to further problems – and the League is holding all the power.
This is a good point. The NFL basically announced they have a massive trove of blackmail against half the league and will use it against anyone who wrongs them. That’s… neither good nor healthy. https://t.co/m7Y5IZxgz6
— Jason J. Voorhees (@BayAreaData) October 12, 2021
What do you think of the Jon Gruden situation? Was he right to resign? Was he forced to resign?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.