Yahoo Sports Reporter, Charles Robinson joins the Yahoo Finance Live panel with the latest as Jon Gruden resigns as Raiders coach over offensive emails.
- Well, a major coaching shakeup in the NFL, shaking up the league. Las Vegas Raiders, Head Coach, Jon Gruden stepping down on Monday, after past emails that were leaked to the New York Times exposed Gruden using homophobic and misogynistic language. Let's bring in Charles Robinson, Yahoo Sports reporter.
Charles, I know you've been following this story really closely. Beyond the emails here, or I should say beyond Jon Gruden here, there are other names within the emails. I mean, how do you think this investigation opens things up? We've got Jon Gruden resigning, could other coaches other NFL officials potentially be implicated?
CHARLES ROBINSON: Well it appears that this investigation into the Washington Football Team, the franchise, and the workplace culture there, is still ongoing. If they're still uncovering emails right now, obviously, these ones that pertain to Jon Gruden, I think it appears that the NFL's process with Washington and the discovery process with the communications, has not ended. As you said, there were other individuals that were involved in these email chains.
Most notably, former Washington Football Team President, Bruce Allen. Now, Bruce Allen, long tenured NFL executive knows a number of people throughout the league. I think it raises the question of whether or not there might have been other individuals in the league who having similar types of conversations with Bruce Allen during this time period. We're talking about roughly 2010, 2011, to 2018 between Jon Gruden and Bruce Allen.
And again, I think you have a number of probably people in the NFL right now that are sitting there thinking, OK, what did I say on email, who did I send this to, and does this open me to potential further scrutiny? I don't think we've reached the bottom yet of where this could potentially go.
- And this comes at a time, as you've highlighted in your story, that the NFL has been trying to go through a culture change. We've seen Roger Goodell sort of make that pivot as well. And you know when you look at ratings this year, they're up nearly 20% from last year. What does a story like this-- that seems to at least reaffirm what a lot of people sort of expected was happening behind closed doors, how does this being exposed-- how does that change the image or damage the image of the league? And ultimately, what does it mean for fans who still watch the game?
Well, I think it says two things. Number one, we're talking about a very-- in terms of celebrity status, Jon Gruden was at the top of the scale in the NFL. He's very synonymous with the product, did a lot of commercial. Well known, well liked throughout the league. Definitely there was affection for Jon Gruden, both within the coaching ranks and executive ranks and the media. So to have this come out about Jon Gruden is very suggestive of, as you said, a culture of the NFL that existed for a very long time. But we have also seen the league in recent years try to distance itself from that culture. Move forward, progress and look at what is changing socially around the league and lean into that.
So the first thing, again, of the two things we're talking about here, that exists. There are people in the league that are still part of that culture that are still connected to that culture. But the second part of this that I think people have to understand is this shows a fairly hard stance as far as the NFL is concerned, in terms of getting away from that culture and moving forward. Behind the scenes, the NFL leaned on the Raiders absolutely to do something about this. Shared the emails with the Raiders, had a dialogue with owner Mark Davis, and I think the league was surprised after the initial dialogue about the emails that Jon Gruden went out and coached against the Chicago Bears. That Mark Davis, as an owner, did not take action.
And I think on the other side of that, that may have played into this additional batch of emails being leaked to the New York Times and exposed and essentially putting the Raiders in a position that was untenable. They had to do something at that point or Jon Gruden had to do something. So clearly reflects some seriousness in terms of the league's efforts to move itself forward and lean into the social attitudes that have changed around the league and be more inclusive, while distancing itself from some of the words and attitudes that Jon Gruden reflected in those emails.
- Yeah, and we should point out Jon Gruden put out a statement on Monday saying, "I've resigned as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. I love the Raiders, and do not want to be a distraction". And he said, "thank you to all the players, coaches, staff, and fans of Raider Nation. I'm sorry I never meant to hurt anybody".
Final question here, Charles. I mean, you've talked about this culture of change that's been happening within the NFL. You think something like this really accelerates that as well?
CHARLES ROBINSON: I think in some respects. I think, again, as I kind of put it in the column earlier today, the NFL has gone through a clumsy process of moving itself forward. Of embracing of fans from different walks of life. We're talking about transgender fans, we're talking about really, gay rights within the league. I mean, it's weird to say that phrase and it almost feels so archaic, like a relic of the past, to refer to it that way. But let's remember, the NFL actually put out a PSA that said the NFL is gay. And it was part of embracing Carl Nassib, who is a star defensive player for the Las Vegas Raiders.
And hey, you know what? This idea of having closeted players, people who can't come out and embrace who they are, we're moving beyond that now. And so I think in some respects, it signals to a broader community outside of those NFL locker rooms that look, the league is serious about this. When we run into situations where we see people who are running absolutely counter to what we want the mission statement being moving forward in terms of inclusivity, involvement, embracing cultures, and people and just a different way of living. That's something that we're going to continue to lean into and people should know that.
- Yeah, Charles. It's great to have you on today to give us some context and perspective on this story. Yahoo Sports reporter, Charles Robinson, joining us today.