Why is it when people declare themselves innocent of being a racist, the first statement out of their mouth is, “I don’t have a racist bone in my body?” How can anyone near 60 years old in America have no knowledge of inherent racial sentiments?
Should a person of Jon Gruden’s importance have ever been given a pass for past indiscretions? Should he have also gotten a second chance after making degrading comments about a high-profile African American because he didn’t like the person’s actions and duties as a representative of the players’ association? I won’t attempt to answer those questions since the NFL obviously believed so – before additional damaging emails were leaked.
Jon Gruden made his choice to send emails and make a mockery of an educated black man, the same way his ancestors made a mockery of African Americans with their “big lips” during the white entertainment minstrel shows.
Gruden insulted the LGBTQ community. Jon also criticized women having jobs as officials in the NFL. More criticism came at the idea of the NFL finding different measures to reduce concussed players around the league.
These emails were shared back and forth between himself and people in high places for seven plus years. These email chains shared pornographic material which also implicated the Washington Football team cheerleaders. The same cheerleaders who made sexual assault claims towards the same organization that denied any wrongdoing of sexual assault or misconduct. What type of culture is going on with our owners? You stand against these issues in broad daylight, but herald them behind closed doors. Jon Gruden wasn’t just randomly sending homophobic emails. He sent these emails to people he was comfortable talking to, which brings up another question. What were these owners replying? You can guarantee these owners are contacting their I.T. guys as we speak to clean up their “G-mail” accounts.
Furthermore, this won’t be the only domino to fall. Gruden’s ineptitude just opened up Pandora’s box for others to be held accountable for their past mishaps. All of these emails were to be concealed, reminiscent of the KKK, who wore hoods to hide their faces, not wanting to be exposed. This is the sad reality and culture of the NFL.
Imagine an organization passing the blame for Gruden’s email, “Dumboriss Smith has the lips the size of Michelin tires” by stating “he wasn’t employed by the team when he sent the message.” The same organization fired past coach Jack Del Rio and completely ignored the Rooney Rule designating that all franchises interview a minority candidate before making a head coach hiring? Added to that, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell defended the organization when he said they were in compliance with interviewing a minority. We know that was a lie because Mark Davis, the Raiders’ owner, went as far as to say Gruden was the next coach in waiting, as Del Rio was packing his boxes in Oakland.
A private law firm was hired to investigate the Washington Football team after years of sexual harassment claims and workplace misconduct towards women. Not one time did evidence reveal that owner Dan Snyder was affiliated with that misconduct. What’s interesting is that Jon Gruden wasn’t the topic of discussion throughout that investigation. The investigation was about the Washington organization.
Gruden bashed Goodell and the next day Gruden was terminated from the league Goodell runs when an anonymous source revealed the real Jon Gruden.
If the NFL is willing to ignore giving African Americans and others a shot to lead a team, then it can also lie about being for social justice and equal opportunity for blacks, who represent over 70 percent of the league and a major part of league profits. The league’s stance on Gruden was to give him a suspension – until the homophobic and sexual discrimination emails leaked.
You are who you associate yourself with
What’s the coincidence that the racist email Jon Gruden sent was to Bruce Allen, who was at the time the general manager of the Washington Redskins. A team insensitive to Native Americans. The organization found to have multiple lawsuits for sexual harassment, and a toxic workplace environment towards women and its cheerleaders. The same organization that was scolded for its racist nickname and logo which profoundly disrespected not just a group of people, but an entire culture.
We know Gruden was reportedly upset about the lockout, and other owners, but if the record ever sees the light of day, I wonder how many others were called out by their physical characteristics that is seen as racially provoked and have a history of being discriminated against.
The fact we are even having this discussion in the 21st century is beyond troublesome. It’s quite simple. Jon Gruden has been operating with a mindset of ignorance and not knowing the history of his own comments. Is that an excuse? Absolutely not. Jon Gruden grew up during one of the most difficult eras in African American history, the Jim Crow era, so his age and not understanding his own self-inflicted, racist terminology or mindset, further illustrates his simplicity.
For the “It happened 10 years ago crowd” and the notion that people can change, that only happens when you accept responsibility for your actions. You can be so used to entitlement, that you don’t recognize the true struggle of a minority being successful in the same industry as you. Does what happened 10 years ago still make it ok? Does slavery happening over 100 years ago make it better? Jon Gruden is only apologizing because his racist remarks in an email were leaked!
The Comment and History
The minstrel shows were racist entertainment for whites which featured African Americans depicted in skits, plays, dances or acts by someone white. During these shows the actors would paint their faces black and wear red lipstick around their “big lips” to mock black folks. Slaves were often referred to “Negro disease” which included descriptions such as dark-skinned color, wooly hair, and big lips. Frederick Douglass famously described the actors as “the filthy scum of white society”.
The NFL and Roger Goodell not only dropped the ball by allowing him to have an option to resign. This brings up the question, what other incriminating evidence in the 650,000 emails does the league have? An organization that instituted the first ever minority head coach to win a Super Bowl in Tom Flores has dropped the ball.
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