Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
December 3, 2021

Two coaches have become NFL distractions

By CYNTHIA HU | October 15, 2021

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CC BY-NC 2.0

Jon Gruden resigned as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders after racist, misogynistic and homophobic emails surfaced.

Over the past several weeks, big news has come out of the National Football League (NFL) regarding a couple of their head coaches. And it is serious — nothing like the other coaching blunders of this season, like Brian Flores of the Miami Dolphins, who is currently trying to rebuild the team and deal with quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s rib injury. Joe Judge of the New York Giants had a good team that produced no results — and now that quarterback Daniel Jones is concussed, he has to think of an alternative way to win.

Though nobody is happy with the lack of results from these coaches, their mistakes come few and far between compared to the likes of two particular American Football Conference (AFC) coaches.

After a loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 30, Urban Meyer, head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, was caught at his restaurant, Urban Meyer’s Pint House, with a woman who is not his wife. Though that already sounds pretty bad for Meyer, being seen dancing with another woman isn’t the most serious part of this issue.

The Jaguars were 0-4 at the time, 0-5 right now, and instead of flying home with the rest of the team, Meyer elected to stay in Ohio. Former Indianapolis Colts head coach, Chuck Pagano, expressed his bewilderment at Meyer’s excuse of needing to “clear [his] head” when he spoke to The Pat McAfee Show.

"And you didn’t fly back with the team? I’ve never heard of that in my entire life. Thirty-seven years of coaching, I never saw the head coach miss — I never once ever thought about doing that,” he said. “You signed the contract as the head football coach. You don’t get to check out. And it’s only the fourth week of the season! Where’s he going after eight games, nine games? You don’t get to do that."

Though the issue remains ongoing, Meyer maintains that he has never considered resigning. 

Speaking of a coach who has resigned, former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden made headlines when racist, misogynistic and homophobic emails dating as far back as a decade ago were uncovered. The New York Times broke the news on Monday. Gruden has been an ESPN analyst and coached in the NFL for many years, with a Super Bowl ring to show for it.

The report came from an NFL investigation into a separate misconduct issue involving the Washington Football Team. The report found that Gruden had frequently used misogynistic and homophobic rhetoric over the past decade to disparage people in the league and ridicule some of the league’s progressive changes.

Gruden also criticized NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and called him many insulting names, including a “clueless anti football pussy” in reference to Goodell pressuring former Los Angeles Rams coach Jeff Fisher into drafting a queer player. Specifically, he mocked the 2014 drafting of Michael Sam into the league. 

He scorned the emergence of women taking more prominent positions in sports, such as in the roles of referees, and made hateful comments regarding players protesting during the national anthem, specifically toward Eric Reid.

Many of these messages were sent to Bruce Allen, the former president of the Washington Football Team, when Gruden was on a coaching hiatus and was working for ESPN Monday Night Football (MNF).

News that Gruden resigned as Raiders head coach came out during MNF, which he addressed on Twitter in a statement issued by the team. 

“I have resigned as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders,” the statement read. “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.”

Ironically, Derek Carr, the Raiders quarterback, urged the NFL to “open up everything” in his weekly media conference.

“If we just started opening up everybody’s private emails and texts, people would start sweating a little bit. Hopefully not too many,” he said. “But maybe that’s what they should do for all coaches and [general managers] and owners from now on. You got to open up everything and see what happens.”

There appears to be news about some NFL coaches every day and we can only hope that these issues are resolved properly so we can focus on what matters more: football.

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