Las Vegas Raiders Coach Jon Gruden resigned yesterday. After a few middling years with Gruden at the helm, his team was pretty good this season, with a 3-2 record, but he was the victim of an obvious yet well-executed hit job.
Brief background: The NFL has been investigating the Washington Football Team (nee Washington Redskins) for sexual harassment and verbal abuse of female employees, a situation that came to light when a video surfaced of partially-nude Washington cheerleaders that was assembled from outtakes of a 2008 calendar shoot. Following the investigation, the NFL fined the team $10 million dollars in July and forced a number of changes to operations—but there was no transparency about the outcome of the investigation. Team owner Daniel Snyder brushed the lint off his suit and wrote the check.
As part of the NFL’s investigation, more than 650,000 emails were uncovered, yet the only emails leaked the other day were a few sent by Jon Gruden to former Washington team president Bruce Allen, back when Gruden worked for ESPN and wasn’t coaching.
The leak started with one email, in which Gruden made a derogatory comment about the lip size of NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith. Gruden apologized; his team spoke up in support of him. For a day nothing happened. Then the hitman fired a second salvo, releasing more emails that Gruden had sent to Allen during a seven-year period ending in 2018. Those emails contained sexist, homophobic, and racist references and language, and some of them used gay slurs against Roger Goodell, commissioner of the NFL.
I wonder who had a vendetta against Gruden? Sure, he’s a short-sighted, insensitive lout for writing those emails and he should be held accountable, but someone deliberately targeted Gruden, who had nothing to do with the Washington Football Team or the investigation into the club.
I’d like to know something about the rest of the 650,000 emails. I’ll bet Washington team owner Daniel Snyder might not come out looking so good. Maybe other team owners might be tarnished. I’ll bet the NFL will do almost anything to protect team owners. The NFL can be a dirty business and it often comes off as caring only about profits. I’d give them the big middle finger, except I’m from Buffalo and was born and raised a Bills fan, and they happen to be really good this year and might make a title run. I’ll just have to live with that cognitive dissonance.
Anyway, goodbye Gruden. He’s not just done coaching, he’s done with football.