Chuckie chucked: Gruden’s words antithetical to modern NFL

Arnie Stapleton Ap Pro Football Writer
Tuesday, October 12, 2021
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Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden speaks on his headset during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, in Las Vegas. AP PHOTO

Jon Gruden had to go.

At a time when messages such as “It Takes All of Us” and “End Racism” are stenciled into every end zone in the league, when women have joined the ranks of front offices, coaching staffs and officiating crews and a player on his own team came out as gay, Gruden’s emails revealing racist, homophobic and misogynistic comments were antithetical to the modern NFL.

Gruden resigned as coach of the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday night, releasing a statement that said, “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 departure was the only acceptable resolution to this quagmire of his own creation because the NFL has made too much progress of late for Gruden to keep his job and roll back that evolution, suggested ESPN football analyst Booger McFarland.

“This is something that had to happen,” McFarland said. “This is something he couldn’t deny. This is in emails where you’re going against what the NFL is trying to do. The players have stickers on their helmets and they have phrases in the end zone: ‘End Racism. Stop Hate. It Takes All of Us. Inspire Change.’ So, we’re trying to get rid of the very things that Jon Gruden is promoting through his personal emails.”

Gruden’s rapid downfall began Friday when The Wall Street Journal reported that Gruden used a racist term to describe NFL union chief DeMaurice Smith, who’s Black, in a 2011 email to former Washington executive Bruce Allen.

If it had ended there, Gruden might have survived.

Following the Raiders’ 20-9 loss to Chicago on Sunday, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said he was among many players who were shocked to hear about Gruden’s racist remark but made clear his coach had his support.

Carr said Gruden addressed the issue and gave his side of the story in a team meeting the morning before that story broke: “He was honest. He was up-front with it, and us as a team were like, ‘Yeah, coach, it was 10 years ago. We love you, man. We’ve got your back.’”

Gruden insisted Sunday that he wasn’t racist, revealed he was sickened by the controversy he’d created and again apologized to Smith.

“But I feel good about who I am and what I’ve done my entire life,” Gruden stressed, adding he hadn’t been contacted by the NFL about his racist remark but “we’ll see what happens here in the next few days.”

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