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Jon Gruden’s swift descent from coach of the Las Vegas Raiders to social pariah is a cautionary tale about the consequences that await people who resist social change. His recklessness made it easy to force him out of the league, but the truth of the matter is that even people who use more gentle language to object to the infusion of social justice causes into the workplace run the risk of extinction.
This controversy started late last week when it was revealed that in 2011, Gruden — at the time an analyst with ESPN — said that players’ union leader DeMaurice Smith had lips the size of Michelin tires. Every media outlet referred to this as a racist trope, but Gruden was still able to coach his team on Sunday. Then more emails were revealed on Monday in which Gruden harshly criticized NFL commissioner Roger Goddell, player protests, the hiring of female referees, the promotion of Caitlyn Jenner, and other league priorities in language ESPN described as “misogynistic, racist, and anti-gay.”
Gruden won a Super Bowl in the 2002 season and left coaching in 2009. He is such a respected football mind that he was given one of the richest coaching contracts in league history despite being away from the game for almost a decade. Jon Gruden has been a fixture on NFL sidelines for over 20 years, but in all that time he never evolved or adapted to his changing habitat. Quotes from Gruden’s emails as well as characterizations of his correspondence paint the picture of a man who was resistant to the rapid social change that is pushed by every large corporation, including the NFL.
You don’t have to defend Jon Gruden’s words to wonder why emails he sent 10 years ago are surfacing now. I certainly don’t. I’m much more of a Tony Dungy guy in terms of both style and substance. I also believe using email to personally attack people the way Gruden did was extremely unwise. The truth, however, is that every person in corporate America is facing extinction from the marriage of corporations and social justice […]
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JD Rucker – EIC