NFL's toxicity goes beyond Jon Gruden's email scandal
'They want to protect the shield at all costs,' says panellist Meghan McPeak
Jon Gruden's resignation came at lightning speed.
The former coach of the Las Vegas Raiders publicly stepped down from his position after emails he sent years prior to accepting the job were released. The emails exhibited Gruden using racist, misogynistic and homophobic language.
The initial investigation — which was aimed at examining multiple allegations, including sexual harassment, surrounding the Washington Football Team — unearthed the 58-year-old coach's offensive messaged after parsing through roughly 650,000 emails. But only Gruden's have been released thus far.
On the latest episode of CBC Sports' video series Bring It In, Morgan Campbell is joined by Meghan McPeak and Dave Zirin to discuss the NFL's latest scandal and the power structures within the league that aim to protect it.
"I say you have 650,000 emails and we're supposed to believe that the scant few that have been released are the only ones that bear offensive content? I have this amazing bridge in Brooklyn that I've got to sell you," Zirin said.
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"For all the horror that we feel about this, there's also a very ugly corporate game being played whose interests are really only with the top one per cent and not with the people who are actually harmed by these emails in the first place, which is where our first instinct should go," Zirin added.
"Our first instinct should be, 'release all the emails now and also let's clean house.'"
The specificity of Gruden's racist remark — saying that NFL Players' Association president DeMaurice Smith, who is Black, "has lips the size of michellin [sic] tires" — would be unlikely to come up again in a search, he said, meaning someone "can say, and technically not be lying, that no more racist comments of the type that Jon Gruden used were found in these 650,000 emails."
McPeak questioned why an update on the investigation into the Washington Football Team hasn't been shared, while taking down Gruden, the Raiders, and team owner Mark Davis has happened with "expeditious speed."
NFL's treatment of women
Gruden's emails at the centre of the scandal were sent to former Washington executive Bruce Allen. Some included photos of topless women, including cheerleaders for Washington.
"It puts it right on Front Street that they want to protect the shield at all costs. The NFL is looked at as a brotherhood, which to them, especially the ones who may think like Jon Gruden and just haven't been caught yet, they want to keep it a brotherhood," McPeak said.
"They don't want women unless they're on the sidelines in the cheerleader or dance team role."
This playoff series, McPeak said, continued to grow the league with sold-out games and an uptick in conversation on social media among fans, NBA players, and athletes of other sports that showed up.
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