“I never meant to hurt anyone,” said John Gruden in a terse message signaling his resignation as the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders.
Gruden isn’t guilty of a crime. He wasn’t resigning because his team was in a downward spiral. At 3-2 in the fourth year of a significant rebuild, Las Vegas looks like a playoff contender this year and the fans of the newly relocated team were settling into the idea a new dynasty in a new city was about to begin.
And Gruden didn’t even do anything untoward of recent vintage which would have merited a resignation.
So why is he gone?
Emails. To friends.
Between 2011 and 2018, Gruden sent a number of emails in conversations with pals talking about various subjects around the game of football and current events. None of them were intended for public consumption. They were private emails.
But when the NFL investigated the Washington Redskins — sorry, the Washington Football Team (which is such a perfect avatar for this moronic moment in America’s cultural history I can’t even stand it) — for allegations of sexual harassment, those emails turned up. Gruden was talking in several of them with Bruce Allen, who at the time was the team’s president and a personal friend of his; Gruden was then the color analyst for ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcasts.
And he said a whole bunch of things for the truth of which outstanding arguments can be made. But truth is not a defense to being canceled in modern America; if anything, truth is an accelerator of trouble unless it is tempered with sweet lies for the benefit of the intersectional victim mob.
And Gruden failed to temper his statements in private communications which were leaked to the legacy corporate media by those who investigated the Team With No Name.
That happened, apparently, because of something Gruden said about the executive director of the NFL Players’ Association.
DeMaurice Smith — or Dumborris Smith, as Gruden called him in a 2011 email which kicked off this week’s cancel-fest — has a shaky reputation as a whiner and a grifter. Even the players don’t like him. Smith was up for a vote late last week which would cost him his job, and he needed something to hang on to. Given the modern moment, victimhood is the best armor, and so Gruden’s emails trashing Smith surfaced just in time.
Smith needed votes from 22 teams to hold onto his job. No sooner did the word go out that he had been A Victim Of Racism a decade before, and he got those 22 votes. And then Gruden’s emails started tumbling out into the public’s view.
What did Gruden say that was so terrible? He said Smith had lips like a Michelin tire. This was taken as a racist statement, but there is more context to it. There’s an old redneck saying which has it that liars speak from rubber lips. Gruden said that’s what he meant when he laid into Smith in a private email. And play-by-play announcer Mike Tirico, with whom Gruden worked for years on the Monday Night Football crew, vouched for the fact Jon Gruden was no racist.
It didn’t matter. Once the Smith e-mail was out, lots of other private communications tumbled forth. And it turns out Gruden was simply too truthful in his private emails to friends. And Tirico and legendary former coach Tony Dungy, who also defended Gruden Sunday night, found themselves trashed for their trouble.
He said it was awful that NFL players would kneel for the national anthem and specifically mentioned the obnoxious jackass Eric Reid as an offender. He had no use for the NFL’s pressure applied to then-St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher to draft Missouri defensive end Michael Sam, who Gruden rightly recognized was not an NFL talent, for the politics and optics of drafting an openly gay player.
As an aside, Gruden’s Raiders have an openly gay defensive end in the lineup. Unlike Michael Sam, though, Carl Nassib is a productive player. It weakens the narrative of Gruden as a homophobe a bit, you know.
But words said in private outweigh deeds done in public. Ask yourself how free a country you live in.
Gruden used the word “queer” to describe Michael Sam. It’s an accurate word. And if it’s an anti-gay slur, then what does the “Q” in LGBTQ stand for? Not the guy in the James Bond movies, I don’t think — something Woke Hollywood is trying to change as it wrecks that cultural asset.
That was, in all likelihood, the kill-shot for Gruden, but he said a couple of other things in those seven years of private email communications which didn’t help. Gruden called Joe Biden, who was vice-president at the time, a “nervous clueless p*ssy” — which is unvarnished truth if ever it’s been put on display, and several times trashed NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, literally the world’s worst commissioner of a major sports league, with rather stout, if creditably creative, language.
Again — these were private communications among friends. They were made under the expectation, whether foolhardy or not, that they would not be released to the public.
And they were, due to somebody’s personal agenda. Gruden is now out of the NFL, which has booked hardly-wholesome rappers Dr. Dre’, Snoop Dogg and Eminem for its Super Bowl halftime show. Satire is now obsolete.
Gruden’s contract that he signed in 2018 was set to compensate him $100 million over 10 years. He’s out $50 million or more because someone leaked his private email communications to the public. And this might be the only place you’ll read that it’s a lot more outrageous that a man’s private conversations leaked to the legacy corporate media cost him $50 million than anything he might have said in those conversations might be.
American corporate media is now very credibly a direct threat to your free speech rights. When a Super Bowl-winning football coach and national legend can be summarily canceled like this, everything about the free society you think you live in is a lie.
And you ought to be absolutely furious about it.
This is worse than the cancellations of Gina Carano and Morgan Wallen. Carano was canceled because of public statements she made on social media. Wallen got wasted and yelled racial slurs, albeit as a joke intended toward white friends, in a public setting. Neither had any reasonable expectation of privacy. Gruden observed all the public expectations of sanitized corporate speech and is being canceled for what’s essentially thoughtcrime.
They’re doing to Gruden what they fantasize about doing to Dave Chappelle. Gruden is an easier target, so he goes down.
By now, some of you have taken to shaking your heads. “No,” you say, “what he said was beyond the pale.”
And to that, I say that Jon Gruden is not the problem here. You are the problem. You’re so intellectually weak, so easily influenced by the woke mob and its corporate media acolytes, that you’ve allowed them to turn you into one of the little Robespierres the woke mob depends on manufacturing like so many cells infected with cancer.
And the thing you should recognize is that Robespierre found himself quite surprised when it came his turn on the guillotine. If you think the woke mob won’t eventually come around to you, then you’ve paid attention to nothing. And if you think you’ve never done anything to offend anyone, you might want to remember that at this rate, in a decade there will be all kinds of things currently thought harmless and polite which will be deemed microaggressions or worse.
When all reason and restraint is gone, there is no safety and no liberty. If you don’t fight for your freedom against the woke mob, be assured the woke mob won’t refrain from fighting to take it from you.
They control social media, and they control legacy media. This will continue, and it will worsen, until that control is taken away.
There has been a good discussion about using antitrust laws, and siccing the plaintiff bar, on Big Tech as a means of breaking the monopoly of the woke mob on free speech in the social media sphere. There also needs to be a discussion about smashing the oligopoly in legacy media whereby a small number of agenda-driven corporations, all carrying large investments and allowing undue influence from hostile foreign powers (and one in particular), control the vast lion’s share of our cultural content.
What happened to Gruden was too much. It goes too far. It’s a tipping point, like Merrick Garland siccing the FBI on concerned parents at school boards. There must be a reaction, and it must be disproportionate. It’s time for an antitrust action against Disney, ESPN’s parent company, and for a re-examination of the NFL’s antitrust protection, and maybe even a fan boycott of all NFLPA-licensed merchandise until Smith resigns.
Enough is enough. It’s time for the woke mob to catch some consequences.