Jon Gruden resigned Monday as the coach of the Las Vegas Raiders football team after the New York Times exposed homophobic and misogynistic statements in emails he'd sent over the past decade. This was after emails surfaced from 2011 in which Gruden derided DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFL Players Association, using stock racist rhetoric.

Gruden reportedly wrote the following in an email to Bruce Allen, who was then the president of the Washington Football Team: "Dumboriss Smith has lips the size of michellin tires." To roughly translate from pidgin racist, Gruden apparently believed Smith had a dumb name and was dumb himself and also his lips were grotesquely large compared to Gruden's objectively normal, thin lips. Friday, Gruden claimed amnesia about the email but insisted, "I never had a blade of racism in me," which doesn't make any literal sense.

So, that was bad, but it seems the other emails are even worse. He regularly used gross language to disparage women and gay people while mocking any moderate social change within the league. This came out as a part of a separate workplace misconduct investigation, and he wasn't even the target. I don't want to imagine what the actual focus of the investigation has done.


When he was working for ESPN as a color analyst during "Monday Night Football" (look at me typing those words as if I know what they mean!), Gruden sent an email calling NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a "faggot" and a "clueless anti football pussy." Gruden suggested that Goodell had pressured Jeff Fisher, then coach of the St. Louis Rams, to draft "queers." This was in reference to openly gay Michael Sam, who the Rams picked in 2014.

Gruden also criticized President Barack Obama during his 2012 re-election campaign and referred to then-Vice President Joe Biden as a “nervous, clueless pussy." He mocked Caityln Jenner when she announced her transition. His emails were like a Dave Chappelle special that also discussed football.

He swapped photos with the Washington team's Allen of women wearing only bikini bottoms. This included a photo of two Washington team cheerleaders. This doesn't seem like something you should do over work email or at all, honestly. (Allen was fired from the Washington football team in 2019.)

Obviously, bigots are going to defend other bigots. They have a very supportive union. The Daily Wire's Matt Walsh tweeted: "Nobody was a victim of Gruden's vulgar comments in his private emails. The people who received the emails didn't care. Nobody else knew about them. Nobody was hurt or even offended. Call it what it is: Gruden is getting canceled for thought crimes."

That's strange and of course not consistent with Walsh's views about Hunter Biden's laptop or Hillary Clinton's email server. Conservatives want to pretend that white men can remain casually racist, sexist, and homophobic but somehow won't let that influence how they treat Black, women, and gay employees (and God help the ones who are all three). Gruden ridiculed the very idea of women working as referees. Presumably, their lady brains can't arbitrate complicated sporting events.

Walsh's whining about “thought crimes" is so goddamn annoying because no one is going to literally torture Gruden to death because he said awful things. His employer is simply choosing to sever ties with him because his rhetoric is repulsive. Oh, and it definitely matters if the people who received the bigoted messages didn't care. That's how systemic discrimination works.

Conservative author Brigitte Gabriel demanded that everyone criticizing Gruden release their own long-form emails from the past decade. How dare we sit here in our futuristic 2021 jumpsuits with protective face masks and judge someone's correspondence from the distant past of 2011! Gabriel's openly anti-Muslim. That's sort of her thing. I'm not sure what she assumes people would discover in her past emails. We already know she's terrible.


Twitter


Others complained that Gruden was "cancelled" because of something he'd done seven years before the Raiders hired him. This implies that the emails were isolated incidents that don't reflective the existing personality of a 58-year-old man. There's no evidence that Gruden has suddenly become “woke," despite his doctor's note declaring an absence of any racist blades in his body.

Anyway, Gruden has left the league and it's all for the best. He released a statement through the Las Vegas Raiders Twitter account Monday night:

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.

His statement sort of transitioned into pop song lyrics at the end there. He probably never meant to cause us any sorrow or pain, either.

[New York Times]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."

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