By now, you might have read that Jon Gruden resigned as the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders after making racist, transphobic and homophobic comments in a series of emails a few years ago. Chucky has gotten a backlash and rightfully so. The Jacksonville Jaguars underwent similar scrutiny when they hired Chris Doyle as their director of sports performance earlier this year. Both instances show that kind of behavior and that mentality have no place in the NFL.
A series of emails Gruden wrote back in 2011 popped up during an investigation by the Wall Street Journal a few days ago. Back when he wrote the emails, he was part of the ESPN staff and the NFL was in the middle of a lockout. The former head coach criticized NFLPA president DeMaurice Smith and made derogatory and racist remarks. After his comments were made public, the former Raiders head coach claimed he didn’t have a “racist bone” in his body. Nevertheless, New York Times detailed more emails, all the way up to 2018 this time, and it was clear this was far from a one-time incident.
Gruden called commissioner Roger Gooddell a “fagg*t”, and a “clueless anti-football pus*sy”. He also believes that the league should not have pressured then Los Angeles Rams head coach Jeff Fisher into drafting a “que*r” back in 2014. Gruden was making reference to Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to enter the NFL draft.
The Jaguars quickly learned they shouldn’t have hired Chris Doyle.
Back when Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer announced his staff, one name stood out but not for good reasons. They thought that it was a good idea to hire Chris Doyle in spite of a history of mistreating players and allegedly making racist comments.
The team’s brass quickly realized their mistake and Doyle resigned not long after being announced as the director of sports performance. While they deserve a bit of praise for showing awareness of the situation, they shouldn’t have hired him to begin with. At the time, Meyer said that he had a pretty good idea of who Doyle was and the decision-makers in Jacksonville had agreed to bring him aboard.
It’s one thing to be strict and demand the most of your players. It’s a completely different thing to be racist and look down on others. Back at Iowa, Doyle mocked players, made insensitive comments, and showed no empathy for them. Why would you hire someone like that? Maybe back in college, players didn’t speak out because of fear of retribution but the NFL is a whole different deal, and Jaguars players weren’t going to stand for that.
Jon Gruden and Chris Doyle have no place in the NFL nor anywhere.
You could argue that Gruden made the derogatory comments years ago. You could also make the case that Doyle’s behavior happened at Iowa. However, comments and actions have consequences, even if they happened a long time ago. Otherwise, anyone could make racist or transphobic comments and suffer no backlash as long as they say they were either young or it happened a while back. Simply, this type of mindset doesn’t have an expiration date.
This isn’t a matter of cancel culture. It’s about respecting others and their differences. Fine, Gruden didn’t agree with the league’s approach, he shouldn’t have gone out of his way to criticize them the way he did. Doyle abused his position of power and is facing the consequences.
Jon Gruden and Chris Doyle aren’t probably the only coaches that have made racist comments. They were simply the ones that were exposed. Moving forward, this kind of behavior needs to call out. Racism, transphobia, and homophobia don’t have a place in an NFL locker room nor anywhere else.