Does Jon Gruden's performance reflect a larger culture?
Shad Khan, a Pakistani-American who has been fighting for his career to become the first member of an ethnic minority to own an NFL team, heard the scuttlebutt when he set out more than ten years ago to be the team's first player from an ethnic minority.
Khan, who is now the owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview this week that the conjecture was, You will never get approved, because youre not white.
Khan said his attempt to buy a 60% stake in one club failed, and the narrative that people had been giving to him kind of grew stronger.
Undaunted and, he claims, encouraged by Commissioner Roger Goodell - Khan went on and soon reached an agreement to buy the Jaguars. Khan remarked, It was approved unanimously. The conjecture and what was going on and the reality - turned out to be different.
In light of Jon Gruden's racist, homophobic, and misogynistic remarks to then-Washington club executive Bruce Allen'. Jon and former players, as well as others around the league, have varying views on a crucial question that arising in light the sport'' racial, homosexual,, or misoffensive views of Gruen in emails he wrote from 2011-18, when er was an ESPN analyst between coaching jobs, to current and then Washington club president Bruce All: How
Its certainly been a topic of conversation in locker rooms lately.
Im not surprised that such ideas exist.... I was a little surprised by that level of ease when sending an email like that to someone. Corey Peters, an Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman in his 11th year in the NFL, said, I would guess you're pretty sure they'll not be offended by it or surprised by the email or have them say anything to you about the nature of those emails." But I think its good for the league to see that come out, and that men are held accountable for what they say, even in private, he added.
Gruden resigned as coach of the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday night following reports in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times about messages he wrote demeaning Goodell, union chief DeMaurice Smith, and others, using offensive terms to refer to Black people, gay people and women.
Some saw Grudens remarks as indicative of a behind-the-scenes culture that might thrive in an industry where about 70% of the players are Black while more than 80% of head coaches (27 of 32) and general managers (also 27 of 34) are white and all are men.
Only Khan and Buffalos Kim Pegula are minorities among the principal owners.
Whos in positions of power in the NFL? And who is making decisions? When it's only one group, notably those who are privileged, who come from the dominant group and are not part of the elite, those are going to most likely be skewed decisions and distorted world views, according to Diane Goodman, an equity consultant.
Its easy to point to Gruden and say, Oh, isnt he awful? and Look at the horrible things.. But that doesnt take into account the larger culture, where people were involved with him. People were allowing these emails to exist. Its really about the whole culture and that feeling, that Im sure people have developed, to feel like, I can say these things and they will be, at best, appreciated and reciprocated or, in worst cases, people may not appreciate them, but nothingll happen. And that is about privilege and entitlement, Goodman said. There is the assumption that I can say these things to another white man who is going to think theyre OK.
Some, such as Seahawks six-time All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner or Hall of Fame safety Brian Dawkins, found the whole episode more representative of the nation than the NFL.
I hate to say it like this, but thats just the reality of the world we live in. Dawkins, whose first two seasons in Philadelphia coincided with Grudens last two as the Eagles offensive coordinator, said, That America. I believe that if (the emails were known about) in 2011, the backlash might not be as severe as it is now. I think that because of the climate in which were in, the things that we've gone through in the last, maybe, three years with social injustice, and all those things, a lot of people are waking up to some of those situations that have been normal for too long.
Wagner stated, There are people out there like that, who speak that way, have that mindset, and haven't grown. Its not just football, itre not only NFL ownership or coaches or anything like that.
Justin Simmons, the Denver Broncos safety, said, You get different backgrounds, you get distinct opinions.
He believes his companys workplace culture is also improving.
Progress has been made. Simmons, who joined the NFL in 2016 and became a quarterback, said, Whether its good enough or not, I wont go into detail about that, he added. Im a firm believer that as long as were moving in the right direction, that must be positive, right?
Former defensive end Mike Flores believes the sentiments expressed in the emails, which were gathered as part of an investigation into sexual harassment and other workplace misconduct at the Washington Football Team, are not merely a one mans mindset.
I know how people in locker rooms interact and joke. Flores, who played college football at Louisville with Grudens brother, Jay, before spending five seasons with the Eagles., 49ers, and Washington, said in a phone interview that most NFL players would be subject to heightened scrutiny if the politically correct police examined everyone s emails.
Hugh Douglas, a defensive end with the Jets, Eagles and Jaguars from 1995-2004, told the AP that Black athletes are conditioned to hearing the racial stuff and that owners wouldnt want their emails made public.
Pat Hanlon, the New York Giants' senior VP of communications, said, "Been in league 35 years. I've never heard that language spoken or written. Im not nave. Sure it has been there. In a second tweet, he stated, it is not commonplace.
Aaron Rodgers, the defending NFL MVP, sees a generational disparity between the people in charge and those taking the field.
I can honestly and proudly say that those arent opinions that are shared by players. I feel like, in the locker room, its a tight knit group of guys. And we dont treat people differently based on the way they speak, where theyre from, what they're into, or what their appearance is like, the Packers quarterback said on The Pat McAfee Show.
Im sure there are (Grudens) points of view, but I feel like theyre few and far between. Rodgers stated, "It's true," I feel like the player and coach of today is a more empathetic, advanced, progressive, loving, connected type of person. Hopefully, as a league, we can learn and grow from this, and hopefully, it will put others on notice who share some of those same views, like, Hey, man, Its time to grow and evolve and change and connect.
Brian Flores, the Miami Dolphins' coach, who is Black, was one of those who agreed with that sentiment.
What I like about the game, from my point of view, is that it brings people together. Flores said that it brings people from all walks of life together. So you hate to see anything that creates a split.
Jacksonvilles Khan said, Obviously, these emails are alarming, and quickly added: My personal experience hasnt been that way.
Khan has seen a change in the leagues culture, especially in regard to social justice issues, since he accepted the Jaguars offer in 2011.
One hundred percent, I believe the league is at the forefront, he added, and theyre going to be doing more.
Dave Campbell, Schuyler Dixon, Josh Dubow, Mark Long, Rob Maaddi, Arnie Stapleton, Teresa M. Walker, Dennis Waszak Jr., and Barry Wilner, as well as AP Sports Writers Greg Beacham, Tim Booth, David Brandt, Tom Canavan, Larry Lage, Steve Megargee, Timothy Reynolds, And Tom Withers contributed to this article.
-- The Associated Press --