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Sports Now question in NFL is: Does Gruden reflect broader culture?

02:17  14 october  2021
02:17  14 october  2021 Source:   msn.com

Opinion: Jon Gruden email saga provides important lesson on NFL hiring process

  Opinion: Jon Gruden email saga provides important lesson on NFL hiring process Raiders owner Mark Davis had his eye on Jon Gruden for years. Davis now will need a more equitable process to find a replacement, Jarrett Bell writes.And in his rush, Davis essentially wiped his feet on the Rooney Rule designed to facilitate a fair and open process, in theory, for minority candidates to compete for head coach vacancies.

In some ways this is only the beginning. It was just another loaded exchange in a political and culture war that has simultaneously consumed and transcended sports. That much was guaranteed when The New York Times included details about Gruden ’s emails through anti-gay and misogynistic You can layer the NFL in that last debate, too. Something along the lines of what pro football culture once was versus what pro football is trying to become. In the middle of it all, there will be an argument of whether Jon Gruden was a victim of cancel culture or a victim of himself. One thing can’t be denied about the

The question now is who did and whether the violation of a confidential investigative process could open the door to some future legal ramifications for the league . Two sources familiar with the NFL ’s investigation of the Washington Football Team — which ultimately churned up derogatory emails What places the NFL in the spotlight — beyond the fact that this was the league ’s investigation — is that it corresponded with Raiders owner Mark Davis about Gruden ’s emails and then anticipated some type of action by the franchise. On the same day Gruden ’s email surfaced about Smith, the league

When Shad Khan set out more than a decade ago to become the first member of an ethnic minority to own an NFL team, the Pakistani-American heard the scuttlebutt.

  Now question in NFL is: Does Gruden reflect broader culture? © Provided by The Canadian Press

“The conjecture was, ‘You will never get approved, because you’re not white,’” Khan, now the owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview this week.

His attempt to purchase a 60% stake in one club fell through, so “the narrative that people had been giving to me kind of got reinforced,” Khan said.

Undaunted — and, he says, encouraged by Commissioner Roger Goodell — Khan moved on and soon reached an agreement to buy the Jaguars. “Got approved unanimously,” Khan noted. “The conjecture and what was going on — and the reality — turned out to be different.”

What we know about Jon Gruden's abrupt resignation as Las Vegas Raiders coach

  What we know about Jon Gruden's abrupt resignation as Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden stepped down as Raiders head coach less than three seasons into a 10-year, $50 million contract he signed after leaving the "MNF" booth.Here's what we know right now: 

With the league 's denial, questions have now turned to who was behind the leak, and whether the violation of a confidential investigative process could lead to future legal ramifications for the NFL . The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times reported that, from 2011-18 while he was an ESPN analyst between coaching jobs, Gruden used racist, misogynistic and homophobic language directed at Smith, Commissioner Roger Goodell and others in around the NFL in written exchanges with former Washington executive Bruce Allen.

Jon Gruden was right when he said Sunday that he doesn’t have an “ounce of racism” in him. It was more like a metric ton. Along with misogyny, homophobia and every other brand of bigotry. © Isaiah J. Downing, USA TODAY Sports Jon Gruden spent 15 seasons as an NFL head coach. Getting rid of Gruden – if you believe he “resigned,” I’ve got a bridge to sell you – was easy. But Gruden is hardly an isolated case. Shocking as the crude and hateful language that Gruden used in emails was, anyone who has followed the NFL even just a little knows there is surely more where this came from.

Current and former players and others around the league have varying opinions about a key question that arose in light of the racist, homophobic and misogynistic thoughts expressed by Jon Gruden in emails he wrote from 2011-18, when he was an ESPN analyst between coaching jobs, to then-Washington club executive Bruce Allen: Just how pervasive are those sorts of attitudes around the sport these days?

It's certainly been a topic of conversation in locker rooms.

“I’m not surprised those ideas exist. ... I guess I was a little bit surprised by that comfort level, sending an email like that to somebody. I would assume you’re pretty assured that they’re not going to be offended by it or surprised by it or have them say anything to you about the nature of those emails,” said Corey Peters, an Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman in his 11th year in the NFL. “But I think it’s good for the league to have that come out, and guys be held accountable for the things that they say, even in private.”

Jon Gruden used racist trope in 'appalling' 2011 email about NFL union head DeMaurice Smith

  Jon Gruden used racist trope in 'appalling' 2011 email about NFL union head DeMaurice Smith Raiders coach Jon Gruden used a racist trope to describe union head DeMaurice Smith in a 2011 email, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.In the email, which was sent during the 2011 lockout, Gruden wrote that: "Dumboriss [sic] Smith has lips the size of michellin [sic] tires.

Jon Gruden has resigned as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders after emails he sent before being hired in 2018 were found to contain racist, homophobic and misogynistic comments. '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.' He stepped down after The New York Times reported that Gruden frequently used misogynistic and homophobic language directed at Commissioner Roger Goodell and others in the NFL .

Amid the 2011 lockout between the NFL and NFLPA, Gruden sent an email to then-Washington president Bruce Allen, in which he wrote, "Dumboriss Smith has lips the size of michellin tires," referring to Smith, who is Black, The Journal reported. Gruden told the newspaper he was angry about the lockout during labor negotiations and he didn't trust the direction the union was taking. Raiders owner Mark Davis said in a Friday statement that Gruden 's comments do not reflect his organization's beliefs.

Gruden resigned as coach of the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday night following reports in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times about messages he wrote demeaning Goodell, union chief DeMaurice Smith and others, using offensive terms to refer to Blacks, gays and women.

Some saw Gruden's words as indicative of a behind-the-scenes culture that could persist in an industry where about 70% of the players are Black while more than 80% of head coaches (27 of 32) and general managers (also 27 of 32) are white — and all are men.

Among principal owners, only Khan and Buffalo’s Kim Pegula are members of minorities.

“The bigger issues aren’t unique to the NFL, but I think they are stark in the NFL: Who’s in positions of power? And who’s making decisions? When that is only one group, particularly people who are privileged, who are from the dominant group, then those are going to likely be skewed decisions and skewed world views,” said Diane Goodman, an equity consultant.

Fritz Pollard Alliance responds to Jon Gruden's comment

  Fritz Pollard Alliance responds to Jon Gruden's comment LAS VEGAS (AP) — The leader of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, a watchdog group that champions diversity in the NFL, says Jon Gruden's 2011 remark about players' union leader DeMaurice Smith is indicative of the racism at many levels of professional sports. Rod Graves, the Alliance’s executive director, also hinted at seeking discipline for Gruden. A Wall Street Journal story noted that Gruden, then working for ESPN and now coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, referred in a racist way to Smith’s facial features in an email.

Now that the NFL has opened the door, others are insisting that other emails be released. The fair and proper thing to do would be to release the full contents of the investigation. At a basic minimum, all of Allen’s emails should be released, including communications with employees of other teams and/or the league office. Any other outcome makes the league complicit in any misconduct reflected in those emails, because the NFL continues to actively cover it up — the same way the NFL covered up the Gruden emails until the NFL realized that releasing them had one or more strategic benefits.

His presence alone is something. Gruden may have been too closed-minded to change his opinions but certainly some teammates, some coaches, some executives in the Raiders organization or elsewhere in the league are watching and moving away from an era of ignorance. Las Vegas Raiders coach resigned after emails came to lightAaron Rodgers says language not reflective of league Jon Gruden had been Raiders coach since 2018. Photograph: Cary Edmondson/USA Today Sports There was little sympathy from NFL players past and present on Tuesday for Jon Gruden after

“It’s easy to point to Gruden and go, ‘Oh, isn’t he terrible?’ and ‘Look at the terrible things he did.’ But that doesn’t look at that larger culture, where people were participating with him. People were allowing these emails to exist. It really is about the whole culture and that sense, that I’m sure people have cultivated, to feel like, ‘I can say these things and they will be, at best, appreciated and reciprocated or, at worst, people may not appreciate them but nothing’s going to happen.’ And that is about privilege and entitlement,” Goodman said. “There is the assumption that ‘I can say these things to another white man who is going to think they’re OK.'”

Some, such as Seahawks six-time All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner or Hall of Fame safety Brian Dawkins, found the whole episode more reflective of the country than the NFL.

“I hate to say it like this, but that’s just the world we live in. That’s America,” said Dawkins, whose first two seasons in Philadelphia coincided with Gruden’s last two as the Eagles' offensive coordinator. "I believe if (the emails were known about) in 2011, then maybe the backlash is not as severe as it is now. I think where we are in the climate that we’re in, the things that we’ve gone through in the last, maybe, three years with social injustice and all those things, a lot of people are waking up to some of the things that have been normal for too long.”

Gruden affair! Bucs also pull the emergency brake

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Said Wagner: “There are people out there like that, that speak that way, that have that mindset, that have not grown. It’s not just football, it’s not just NFL ownership or coaches or anything like that.”

Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons raised the point that representation matters: “You get different backgrounds, you get different opinions."

He also thinks his job's workplace culture is improving.

“Progress has been made. Whether it’s good enough or not good enough, I won’t go into details about that,” said Simmons, who entered the NFL in 2016. “I’m a firm believer that as long as we’re taking steps in the right direction, that has to be positive, right?”

Former defensive end Mike Flores figures the sentiments found in the emails, which were gathered during an investigation into sexual harassment and other workplace misconduct at the Washington Football Team, do not represent merely one man's mindset.

“I know how people talk and joke around in locker rooms. Most people in the NFL would be highly scrutinized if the ‘politically correct police’ examined everyone’s emails,” Flores — who played college football at Louisville with Gruden’s brother, Jay, before spending five seasons with the Eagles, 49ers and Washington — said in a phone interview.

Hugh Douglas, a defensive end with the Jets, Eagles and Jaguars from 1995-2004, told the AP that Black athletes are “conditioned” to hearing “the racial stuff” and hypothesized that owners wouldn't want their emails made public.

NFLPA leader Smith appreciates Gruden reaching out

  NFLPA leader Smith appreciates Gruden reaching out NFL Players Association leader DeMaurice Smith says he appreciates that Raiders coach Jon Gruden reached out to him following the report that Gruden used a racist comment in a email about him 10 years ago. Smith said in a Twitter thread on Monday that the email reported Friday by the Wall Street Journal that showed Gruden referred in a racist way to Smith’s facial features is evidence that the fight against racism is ongoing. “This is not aboutSmith said in a Twitter thread on Monday that the email reported Friday by the Wall Street Journal that showed Gruden referred in a racist way to Smith’s facial features is evidence that the fight against racism is ongoing.

But Pat Hanlon, senior VP of communications for the New York Giants, tweeted, “Been in league 35 yrs. Have never heard that language in writing or verbally. I’m not naïve. Sure it has been there.” He wrote "it is not commonplace” in a second tweet.

Reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers sees a generational gap between the folks in charge and those taking the field.

“I can say with real honesty and pride that I don’t feel like those are opinions that are shared by players. I feel like, in the locker room, it’s a close-knit group of guys. And we don’t treat people differently based on the way that they talk, where they’re from, what they’re into, what they look like,” the Packers quarterback said on The Pat McAfee Show.

“I know that there’s probably opinions similar to (Gruden’s), but I feel like they’re few and far between. I really do,” Rodgers said. “I feel like the player and the coach of today is a more empathetic, advanced, progressive, loving, connected type of person. ... Hopefully we can all, as a league, learn and grow from this and hopefully it puts people on notice who have some of those same opinions, like, ‘Hey, man, it’s time to grow and evolve and change and connect.’”

Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores, who is Black, was among those echoing that sentiment.

“From my standpoint, what I love about the game is that it brings people together. It really brings people from all walks of life together,” Flores said. “So you hate to see anything that brings any type of division.”

Speaking about what happened with Gruden, in particular, Jacksonville’s Khan said, “Obviously, these emails are disturbing,” and quickly added: “My personal experience has not been that way.”

In the time since Khan agreed to purchase the Jaguars in 2011, he’s seen a change in the league’s culture, particularly with regard to social justice causes.

“One hundred percent, I think the league is at the forefront,” he said, “and they’re going to be doing more.”

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AP Pro Football Writers Dave Campbell, Schuyler Dixon, Josh Dubow, Mark Long, Rob Maaddi, Arnie Stapleton, Teresa M. Walker, Dennis Waszak Jr. and Barry Wilner, and AP Sports Writers Greg Beacham, Tim Booth, David Brandt, Tom Canavan, Larry Lage, Steve Megargee, Tim Reynolds and Tom Withers contributed to this report.

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More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Howard Fendrich, The Associated Press

Ranking the Raiders' best coaching candidates to replace Jon Gruden in 2022 .
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