As a white guy of a certain age, I’m never shocked to learn that one of my peers has written or said something racist, sexist, or homophobic. I’ve been obliged to listen to my share of bigoted bullshit over the years. I stopped putting up with it years ago and started calling people out on this sort of shit. Make that men, it’s almost always men, especially when the language is homophobic.
Football coaches and executives tend to be manly men who reinforce their manly man-ness by throwing around homophobic slurs. Oakland/Los Angeles/Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden quit his job on Monday because of some emails exchanged with his friend and former co-worker Bruce Allen.
They’re both pro football lifers: Bruce Allen is the son of former NFL coach and noted wingnut George Allen. His big brother George Jr. was a Republican Governor of Virginia and a one-term US Senator who lost his 2006 reelection race, in part because of an ethnic slur. He called an Indian American guy a macaca, which is Portuguese for monkey. It went down in political history as the Macaca Moment.
Bruce Allen and his pal Jon Gruden had their own Macaca Moment when a series of emails they exchanged were leaked to the New York Times. As a Saints fan, I’m no admirer of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell but the Gruden/Allen exchanges made him almost sympathetic:
In the emails, Gruden called the league’s commissioner, Roger Goodell, a “faggot” and a “clueless anti football pussy” and said that Goodell should not have pressured Jeff Fisher, then the coach of the Rams, to draft “queers,” a reference to Michael Sam, a gay player chosen by the team in 2014.
In numerous emails during a seven-year period ending in early 2018, Gruden criticized Goodell and the league for trying to reduce concussions and said that Eric Reid, a player who had demonstrated during the playing of the national anthem, should be fired. In several instances, Gruden used a homophobic slur to refer to Goodell and offensive language to describe some N.F.L. owners, coaches and journalists who cover the league.
The emails came out because of an NFL investigation into the Washington R******s. Bruce Allen used to be President/General Manager and all-around lackey to the Washington Football Team’s bigoted and creepy owner Daniel Snyder. FYI, Jon Gruden’s kid brother Jay used to coach the Washington No-Names.
This is some incestuous shit. You know what they say: Bigots of a feather flock together.
Bruce Allen won’t be frog marched out of the NFL alongside Gruden this week because he was fired by the Washington No-Names in 2019. But I thought he deserved an equal share of the obloquy over the bigoted emails. Gruden knew he was sharing his hateful thoughts with a receptive audience.
There were two waves of leaked emails. The first one involved racist slurs, which led Gruden to issue the bigot’s standard disclaimer: “I haven’t got a racial bone or blade in my body.”
That’s racist, Coach. Where he got blade from beats the hell outta me: grass, shoulder, knife?
The source of the leak is likely within the NFL itself. The NFL is all about the owners and Roger Goodell is their boy. Messing with the Commissioner will get your ass fired pronto. It could also be odious Washington No-Names owner Dan Snyder hoping to take some heat off himself.
It’s ironic that this genuine email scandal involves two Republican football men. One would have thought that they’d learned something from the Hillary Clinton email mishigas, but guys like Gruden and Allen are arrogant and entitled. White privilege anyone?
White privilege breeds Macaca Moments. Just ask George Allen.
If Jon Gruden and Bruce Allen were students of political history, they would have known of this admonition from former Gret Stet Governor Earl Long:
That’s the last word. Uncle Earl is a hard act to follow.