Stever On Sports

Nathan Stever, Editor In Chief

The 2021 NFL season started off hot with familiar faces in different uniforms, an unexpected team leading the early standings, and controversy. On Monday, October 11, Raiders’ Head Coach Jon Gruden stepped down as head coach after finding emails sent in 2011 that sparked controversy. 


Several comments were made leading up to Gruden resigning. Above all there were three main comments that caught the attention of many players, coaches and journalists. The first of which was in a 2011 email regarding the Executive Director of the NFL stating, “Demaurice Smith has lips the size of michelin tires.” When this was announced in October, the headline left out several other pieces of context: Gruden had also been talking about the corruption at the head of the organization.


Some were concerned that the email was just the tip of the iceberg for other things Gruden has done or said. Several other players in the league have come forward to say Gruden has made more sexist, homophobic, and racist comments than what has been brought to light. 


Defensive end for the Raiders, Carl Nissab came out as gay very early on in the season. Jon Gruden supported Nassib, saying, “What makes a man different makes him great.”  


There is virtually no evidence to support that Gruden is homophobic especially after his comments supporting one of his own players. Was he being fake in supporting Nassib? The answer to that may remain unknown. Carl Nassib went on twitter after Gruden resigned saying he needed a day to process all that had been going on. 


The emails that had been brought up took place in 2011. That was ten years ago. It doesn’t make it right, but the man won a superbowl and turned around one of the worst NFL franchises. After it made headlines, Gruden apologized and resigned. It’s sad to see a great coach pressured into leaving for things he said 10 years ago. 


The underlying issue in this situation is there are more coaches who do the same if not worse than Gruden had done. This brings up the question, is the NFL getting more sensitive or just more woke? There have been several rule changes in the past decade about safety that have sparked controversy in the league. Just five years ago referees went under fire for roughing the passer calls. 


Roughing the passer is a call made whenever the quarterback is hit well after the ball has left his hands. During the 2018 season it seemed there were multiple calls during every game. This made many fans upset and allowed for the XFL to develop. The XFL was very similar to the NFL in many aspects except for the rules. Due to how loose the rules were in the XFL compared to the NFL, many NFL fans began to watch the XFL games and the new league began to expand and grow.


After two quick seasons the XFL barely saw viewers and the league shut down. People watch football for the big plays, and the big hits. Several rules have been put in place to try and prevent these big hits. Richard Lane also known as Night Train Lane has the notorious face mask rule implemented because of him. 


Safety rules and eliminating toxic coaches or players make sense. What doesn’t make sense is judging people before getting the whole picture.