OPINION: A fumble on ethics: Jon Gruden exposed by cancel culture


Attribute to Anelale Nájera via Unsplash.com

Pictured above is Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders.

Brady Hunter, Multimedia Manager

Jon Gruden, former Las Vegas Raiders head coach, recently chose to part ways with the NFL organization due to an explicit email scandal containing racist, mysoginistic and homophobic comments.

Throughout several coaching careers in sports history, the everso prominent “cancel culture” has taken privileges away from professional and collegiate coaches who have abused the standard guidelines created for sports coaches. 

Although this culture attempts to maintain high standards for coaching staffs, Gruden’s actions were inappropriate and unacceptable. 

CNN sports writer Steve Almasy depicted the contents of Gruden’s emails. “In one message, Gruden called NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a ” clueless anti-football p**sy” and a “f**got,” according to the Times. In another he called Michael Sam, an openly gay NFL player, a “q**er” after the player was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in 2014, and Gruden said the league should not have pressured the team’s then coach to draft Sam,” Almasy stated. 

Historically speaking, cancel culture has played a critical role in the critique of the sports industry. Writer for The Wrightway Sports Network Kevin Chin looked at this phenomena in greater detail.

“This form of ostracism occurs when a person or group is called out for something they said or did that is not politically correct. It has had a positive impact on society, as it has helped expose some awful people. However, in 2020, everyone is at risk of being “Cancelled”. At what point does this epidemic get out of hand and has it already gone too far?” Chin questioned. 

It is important to consider the lack of discussion over significant issues that reside in sports as a result of mistakes made by staff and teams. While cancel culture has had a large impact on the sports industry through a variety of scandals, disagreements and historical mistakes, there is still work to be done.

Gruden’s workplace misconduct investigation is one of the several scandalous incidents  that he has been involved in over the course of his coaching career.

According to the New York Times, Gruden was caught exchanging explicit photos of football cheerleaders; he criticized President Joe Biden, calling him a “nervous clueless pu**y bit**” and was said to have denoted DeMaurice Smith’s face using a racist trope.

Left in uttermost shock, people across social media platforms remain in question of the possibility of further scandal in professional sports. 

Clay Travis, NFL influencer and talk show host, posted a tweet regarding the correlation between Gruden’s violation and a sexual assault case in previous years. “Deshaun Watson has been accused of sexually assaulting 24 different women. He is currently eligible to play in the NFL. Yet Jon Gruden was just forced to resign as a coach because of years old derogatory emails” Travis said.

Gruden’s actions were unjustifiable. Cancel culture has brought forward the true reality in sports, yet it has also proven inconsistent from case to case. Actions used to matter more than words. Now it seems to be the opposite.