This Idaho Guy Defends the NFL’s Jon Gruden
I always liked Jon Gruden. I’m not a Raiders fan and wasn’t a Buccaneers fan when he coached in Tampa. I do believe he was and remains a great coach. In between, he did great work as an analyst in the broadcast booth.
Now he’s out of a job and may never work again in coaching or broadcasting. Old texts and emails show Gruden often talked in ways we used to call “smack” when I was young. He talked like the football coaches I knew. If you've never played ball you don’t have much of an idea about what takes place in the locker room, the team bus, or on the practice field. It’s a testosterone-fueled environment and a lot of the talk is about setting the right psychology for a violent and often brutal game. It’s not tea or buttered scones.
It’s said the old messages came about after the National Football League investigated the workplace culture of the Washington Football Team, which isn’t indicative of the rest of the league. It’s a sad-sack operation led by a megalomaniac. Gruden’s brother, Jay Gruden, had the misfortune of working for Washington.
Which would tell me that many of the messages were between the brothers and would be defined as personal correspondence.
Every now and then I hear from an old buddy from college or high school. Some still talk just as they did 40 to 45 years ago. When I get off the telephone, I don’t quickly race to call a guy’s boss and demand he be fired for being politically incorrect. What would be my benefit? Gruden’s words were leaked because someone in the NFL saw an advantage in destroying his career. I believe that’s worse than anything that ever came out of Gruden’s mouth.
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