Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden resigned Monday after insensitive emails he’d sent a decade ago were leaked to the media, gifting us the latest example of woke mob hypocrisy.
Gruden’s emails were admittedly, um, not great. He said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was a ‘faggot’, called gay NFL players ‘queers’ and said that NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith had ‘lips the size of Michelin tires’. Gruden claims that last comment was not about race, but rather the fact that he has always referred to liars as having ‘rubber lips’. Curious.
There were other Gruden emails leaked to the media that weren’t so bad, but they still signaled to the left that he is not on their team and thus not worthy of defense. He mused, for example, that players who kneel for the national anthem should be fired. He called then-Vice President Joe Biden a ‘nervous clueless pussy’. And he called Goodell an ‘anti football pussy’.
It’s stupid for a public figure to mouth off like this. But what’s even more ridiculous is that he had to resign his position as head coach of the Raiders.
First of all, there is a blatant and disturbing double standard in the outrage over Gruden’s emails versus how the NFL treats its star players when they are involved in misconduct. It’s no secret that the league has long allowed moneymakers to get away with assault, domestic violence, and other horrible crimes so long as they perform on the field.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown recently settled a civil dispute with his ex-trainer who accused him of rape. He was previously suspended for eight games after he pleaded guilty to burglary and battery. Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been accused by multiple women of rape, and was suspended for six games following the second incident. The NFL suspended Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for only two games after a video showed him assaulting his then-fiancée in an elevator; it took the Ravens releasing him to end his career.
Former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick managed to play in the NFL again for the Philadelphia Eagles after serving a prison sentence for his involvement in a dog fighting ring. Donte Stallworth was suspended for one season after killing a pedestrian while driving under the influence of alcohol. Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill pleaded guilty to punching and choking his pregnant girlfriend in 2014, but was still drafted into the NFL two years later. The list could go on.
Why is it that all of these players still collected paychecks from the NFL after committing violent crimes, but Gruden had to resign from his position immediately?
The email fiasco reeks of a bait-and-switch. There are two obvious motivations for the leak: to protect Washington Redskins — er, Football Team — owner Dan Snyder and to avenge NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
Gruden’s emails were unearthed during the discovery process for an investigation into the WFT’s alleged toxic workplace environment. Investigators had access to more than half a million emails as part of the investigation, but oddly only Gruden’s were leaked to the media. Not only have we not seen Snyder’s emails, we don’t even really know the results of the investigation because the NFL opted not to publicly release detailed findings. All we learned from the probe is that Snyder was found to have presided over a ‘very toxic’ and ‘unprofessonial’ workplace and ordered to pay a measly $10 million fine. Oh, and he was still allowed to purchase a minority stake in the WFT, giving him more control over the team than ever.
To recap, if you are accused by nearly 50 women of running a toxic and sexist workplace environment but suck up to the NFL commissioner, you will get a slap on the wrist. If you beat your girlfriend, you will be drafted and rewarded with a multi-million dollar contract. But if you call the NFL commissioner a ‘pussy’, ‘someone’ will leak your emails to the media and you will lose your job.
The NFL naturally released a statement condemning Gruden’s ‘appalling’ emails: ‘The email from Jon Gruden denigrating DeMaurice Smith is appalling, abhorrent and wholly contrary to the NFL’s values. We condemn the statement and regret any harm that its publication may inflict on Mr Smith or anyone else.’
What, exactly, are the NFL’s ‘values’? It’s hard to believe the league is offended by Gruden’s remarks given its careless indifference to actual crimes and misconduct committed by players and other team owners. The truth is that Gruden only insulted the ‘wrong’ people — most notably, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
Goodell has a history of responding poorly to criticism. He banned Barstool Sports employees from the Super Bowl after they protested his Deflategate decision and created towels featuring his face with a clown nose, then dubiously claimed he knew nothing about the ban. NBC Sports later reported that Goodell was still ‘miffed’ months after Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia was photographed wearing a Goodell clown shirt. Goodell’s wife once reportedly ran a fake Twitter account to defend her husband from criticism over the league’s defense of anthem kneelers.
Would it really be a surprise if the thin-skinned Goodell orchestrated the email leak against Gruden as revenge, conveniently distracting the media from his old pal Dan Snyder’s misconduct in the process? Ironically, doing so would prove Gruden’s point that he is an ‘anti football pussy’.