One man’s private emails upended America’s biggest sports league this week. Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden was forced to apologize and resign over emails he sent to a friend 10 years ago. The emails were revealed as part of a league investigation into the “Washington Football Team.” (They were once the Redskins rather than “football team.”)
Gruden’s emails were clearly not things you would say on TV, but they weren’t meant for public consumption. It was him talking with his friend in private. Let he who has never said impolitic things in private communications cast the first stone. But apparently no one has said rude things in texts or emails before, which makes Gruden the villain of the moment. According to his critics, Gruden’s alleged racism, misogyny, and homophobia represent everything wrong with the NFL and why the league must change. If you believe the critics, the NFL reeks of “white privilege.”
That’s what ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith said of the Gruden scandal. He complained the NFL lacks diversity and this is why racism is allowed to proliferate. “Now you get into the issue of diversity or lack thereof, there’s no minority representation in ownership with the NFL with the exception of Shahid Khan,” he said. “When you take that into consideration and then you see Jon Gruden, it reeks of ‘good ol’ boys club’ it reeks of White privilege.”
This view was shared by others. The far-left Atlantic’s Jemele Hill argues the NFL’s social justice initiatives are meaningless if it will “never fix its own corrosive, institutionalized racism without more fundamental change. Unless the league chooses to confront prejudice in substantive ways, bigots will continue to protect bigots, and power will continue to protect power.”
The New York Times’ Kurt Streeter claims: “Powerful men, particularly powerful white men, have by far the most sway in professional football. How they act, whom they anoint and hire, what they say, and in this case the casual jokes and demeaning put-downs underscore the lie of the league’s public-facing displays. These are the men who make the day-to-day decisions in football. And those emails are where the NFL’s real culture was exhibited.”
The NFL’s official website even published a similar critique. “Gruden is hardly the only person in the NFL who thinks and talks that way. He is merely one of the most high-profile and well-compensated, and certainly one of the dumbest, for putting it all in writing,” wrote NFL.com columnist Judy Battista.
The impression from sports media is that the NFL is chock full of toxic white men dominating the sport and spreading their casual racism everywhere. The only solution: more diversity and more woke messaging.
This opinion is preposterous. The NFL’s players are 70 percent black, hardly the demographic to establish white privilege. The sport has turned itself into a propaganda arm for Black Lives Matter, playing the black national anthem at marque games, stenciling “End Racism” in end zones, and allowing players to display the names of black people shot by police. The NFL pledged tens of millions of dollars to left-wing groups. Critics complain that coaches and management are the problem and there needs to be more diversity, but the league imposes diversity on them as well. All teams must interview at least two minority candidates for coach openings and the NFL rewards those teams that hire “diverse” candidates for those positions
What more could the critics ask for? Seventy percent of coaching personnel be black?
No matter how ridiculous the demands are, the NFL will fall into line to make itself woke and alienate conservative fans. It’s already doing that with Gruden’s erasure. Not content with just forcing him out of a job, the league and its affiliates are trying to wipe away his very presence. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers removed him from the Ring of Honor because his emails violated their “values.” Gruden was placed in the Ring for winning the team’s first Super Bowl. The company Electronic Arts announced it would issue a mandatory update that would erase Gruden’s presence from the latest Madden video game.
Remember, this is all over private emails. Gruden committed no crime outside of offending people. Players who commit actual crimes suffer fewer consequences. Current Bucs receiver Antonio Brown is accused of a host of real-world crimes and pleaded guilty to assault last year. He settled a sexual assault lawsuit out of court this year. He’s still on his team and in the latest Madden. Houston Texans quarterback DeShaun Watson currently faces 22 lawsuits over sexual misconduct. He still plays on the field and is included in the latest Madden. And these players aren’t rare exceptions. Players accused of violent crimes are rarely suspended by the league.
Gruden would’ve had a better chance of keeping his job if he had physically assaulted a bartender rather than commenting on the bartender’s looks in a private message.
The Gruden saga is just another reason you should turn off the NFL. There were already plenty of earlier signs that conservatives are not welcome to watch. This is not a league that respects conservative values. It’s a left-wing propaganda machine that should be boycotted. League officials purposefully leaked Gruden’s emails to get rid of an enemy of the NFL commissioner and provide an excuse for even more diversity initiatives. Conservatives can take a stand against this disgraceful behavior by simply not watching their games.