Culture Trouble in NFL

Parker Truesdale

Senior Staff Writer

For over twenty years, Jon Gruden has been one of the most familiar faces attached to the Nation Football League. After being hired as the special offensive assistant and wide receiver coach for the Green Bay Packers, Gruden has escalated to the top of the football industry, conquering both coaching and broadcasting in the process. Gruden established himself as an admirable head coach after leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to their first super bowl win. 

After his run in the NFL, Gruden transitioned to broadcasting with his series Jon Gruden’s QB Camp, where he spent time with upcoming NFL draftees as well as notable time spent doing color commentary on Monday Night Football. In 2018, the NFL welcomed Gruden back into the league as the Oakland Raiders Head Coach. The 2021-22 NFL season was Gruden’s fourth season of his ten-year 100 million dollar contract. 

On October 11, 2021, Gruden had an abrupt exit from the Raiders organization after the New York Times and Wall Streets Journal released samples of Gruden’s email history containing sexist, racist, xenophobic, and homophobic slurs. Multiple sources have exposed Gruden for his derogatory slurs aimed at NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL Players Association executive director Demaurice Smith, female NFL referees, and Michael Sam the NFL’s first publicly gay player to be drafted.

Initially, the investigation aimed towards misconduct in the Washington Football Team workplace reviewing over 650,000 emails in the workplace. Gruden happened to catch the brunt of the blow after emails with executive Bruce Allen led the investigation to Gruden’s web of degrading history. 

Celebrities live life on a pedestal built by people willing to invest their time and effort in their careers, a pedestal that seems untouchable by most. However, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden showed us that life at the top is fragile. 

“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.” Gruden said in a statement via Ian Rapoport.

From the outside, the resignation of the Raiders head coach seemed quick and painless, but many believe this is only the beginning for the league. NFL veteran Ryan Russell wrote last week, “The culture runs deeper than just one head coach: history of the vast mistreatment of marginalized voices throughout the NFL.” 

The world has endured a momentous change in culture; once glossed over, obtrusive behavior is now career-ending. The professional sports world is a male-dominated organization that has raised a culture that may not be overlooked in 2021. Leaked emails have torpedoed many careers. However, if Ryan Russell’s insider opinion rings true, the initial investigation of the Washington Football Team may lead to the dismantling of other big names around the league. 

Categories: featured, Pro Sports, Sports

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