Sports·BRING IT IN

NFL's toxicity goes beyond Jon Gruden's email scandal

On the latest episode of Bring It In, host Morgan Campbell is joined by panellists Meghan McPeak and Dave Zirin discuss the NFL email scandal and power structures that aim to protect the league.

'They want to protect the shield at all costs,' says panellist Meghan McPeak

Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden, seen above during a game in September, stepped down after emails were leaked showing him make misogynistic, homophobic and racist remarks. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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. 

WATCH l Breaking down the NFL's latest scandal and the powers behind it:

The latest on the NFL’s leaked email scandal | Bring It In

12 months ago
Duration 9:53
The Bring It In panel discusses the latest in the NFL’s leaked email scandal that saw former Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden resign due to the homophobic, racist and misogynistic emails he had sent to former Washington Football Team executive Bruce Allen.

"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.'"

Campbell noted that if others are sharing toxic messages within the league, "they were smart enough not to do it over people's company emails."

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."

WNBA Finals

The panellists also dove into the Chicago Sky storming to victory in the WNBA Finals against the Phoenix Mercury. Candace Parker earned her second WNBA championship and first in her hometown.

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.

WATCH l Superstar players, drama on display at the WNBA Finals:

Candace Parker’s Chicago Sky win WNBA Championship | Bring It In

12 months ago
Duration 8:53
Host Morgan Campbell is joined by Meghan McPeak and Dave Zirin to get their reactions to an amazing WNBA Finals that saw Candace Parker lead the Chicago Sky to a championship victory over Diana Taurasi’s Phoenix Mercury.

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