Kind of hard to believe right? Especially after we saw this announcement yesterday regarding Jon Gruden, famed Suepr Bowl coach of the 2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and coach of then defensive player Warren Sapp.
Meanwhile, the Buccaneers recently had no problem signing defensive back Richard Sherman who is currently facing criminal charges for domestic violence.
In regards to Warren Sapp, it is important to note that all of the mentioned charges in the title of this blog were dropped. Sapp was not convicted, and none of this was ever proven. With that said, where there is smoke there is fire and he clearly got himself involved in a situation he should not have been in.
I am not condoning Jon Gruden’s actions. Yes, he definitely used some words he should not have used. The usage of homophobic slurs in 2021 is not ok. In fact, it should have never been ok. Unfortunately, the world we lived in years ago allowed for it. Mainly because the masses were simply uneducated and unaware of how badly those words can hurt other people. I for one am glad that in 2021 those types of words are now considered unacceptable.
With all of that said, the question needs to be asked. Does Jon Gruden’s punishment fit the crime?
Gruden was right about one thing.
Roger Goodell is a pussy.
Roger Goodell is a pussy because he and the rest of the team ownership in the NFL consider the use of words as more damaging than actions. While what Gruden said was wrong, did he really deserve to lose his job and have his memory in Tampa Bay erased for it?
Below I have compiled a list of NFL Hall of Famers and stand out players who have made their respective team’s “ring of fame” despite having criminal actions brought against them.
On July 29, 1998, Michael Irvin allegedly assaulted a fellow Cowboys offensive lineman named Everett Mcelver. The initial dispute stemmed from Irvin demanding that McIver vacate a barber’s chair so that Irvin would not have to wait for a haircut. During the course of the dispute, Irvin grabbed a pair of scissors and stabbed McIver in the neck, barely missing his carotid artery. It was reported that Jerry Jones immediately brokered a six-figure settlement between Irvin and McIver in exchange for McIver’s silence and to prevent McIver from pursuing criminal charges against Irvin. In 2007 and 2017, Irvin was investigated for sexual assault. There is no reason to get into the drug related charges that were brought against Irvin over the years as we already know that the NFL could care less bout that.
In May 2010, Lawrence Taylor was arrested for having sex with a 16-year-old girl at a Holiday Inn located in Montebello, New York. He was charged with felony third-degree statutory rape, for allegedly engaging in sexual intercourse with someone under 17. He was also charged with third-degree patronization for allegedly paying the underage girl $300 to have sex with him. Taylor pleaded guilty on March 22, 2011, and was sentenced to six years probation as part of a plea agreement, in which he pleaded guilty to the misdemeanors of sexual misconduct and patronizing a prostitute. He also registered as a low-risk, level-one sex offender. Again, no reason to get involved with his drug usage. The NFL simply does not care.
While Darren Sharper was never inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame, he was nominated. Sharper was sentenced to 18 years in prison after pleading guilty in federal court to drugging three women for the purpose of raping them, the one then sentenced in Louisiana state court to another 20 years to run concurrently with the first term, the one who has pleaded guilty or no contest to similar charges in Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Tempe, Ariz., the one who has been incarcerated for more than two years following his initial arrest in California.
How did the NFL reward him shortly thereafter? They let him receive a nomination to be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame.
O.J. Simpson….you know what, I don’t even need to given an explanation here. But this guy still remains in the NFL Hall of Fame.
I can mention so many other names that have had charges brought against them. Ben Roethlisberger for being accused of sexual assault on two separate occasions. Heck, Ray Lewis was on trial for murder and more specifically double homicide!
I fully believe that one is innocent until proven guilty, but professional athletes often find themselves in bad situations with the law. More often than not, high powered attorneys tend to settle these issues for large sums of cash because the athletes can afford it.
The bigger issue here is, when will the NFL start holding people accountable for their actions. Why is Jon Gruden’s use of words more harmful than someone who actually raped another human being? Again, I must reiterate that what Jon Gruden said was not ok. His use of racial and homophobic slurs was wrong. But does the punishment fit the crime?
I bet if you had a chance to ask Darren Sharper if he had the choice to publicly use a homophobic or racial slur or rape someone, he would choose the slur 100 out of 100 times. Why? Because he wouldn’t do 18 years in prison for using the slur!
While I do not think that Jon Gruden should be let off the hook, I do think it is important that he strive to improve his public image. For starters, the NFL should put him through rigorous sensitivity training. He should also maybe do some charitable work. He should have to spend times with victims of hate crimes whether they be racially or homophobically charged. It’s important for Gruden to understand why what he did was wrong. I liken the punishment to Gruden similar to taking a child’s toy away from them when they misbehave. Does the child actually learn their lesson? Of course not. They get mad and the hope is that they will never misbehave in that way again. But the child will continue to misbehave. By doing this, taking away the toy from the child only teaches them to be careful on how to behave. The child needs to be spoken to and explained as to why their actions are wrong, how they could hurt somebody, and why they should not behave that way again. Simply taking something away is only a band aid that masks the problem. A person will only truly change if they take the proper steps to address the problem.
The bottom line is this.
The NFL needs to do a better job of bringing the hammer down on players and coaches that break the law in the cases of sexual assault, domestic violence, and other atrocious crimes. If you think someone using a slur of any sort is worse than rape, you are simply blind. Think about it like this. If someone called your loved one a homophobic or racial slur, you would be upset with them, and rightfully so. You may even want to seek vengeance. But now imagine that same person raped your loved one. I don’t know about you, but I would be out for blood.
Unfortunately, the NFL does not see things that way. Multiple sexual assault charges after you retire from the NFL simply don’t matter. You’ll get to keep your spot. Having sex with a female under the age of 18 and registering as a sexual offender is still not enough to get your spot in the Hall of Fame removed. Rape charges according to the NFL do not matter if you are Hall of Fame worthy. You’ll still get nominated. Even if you were just sentenced to 18 years in prison.
At this point, I am just rambling. But I like to think that anybody who has read this far sees the problem at hand.
The NFL views words as more damaging than things like sexual assault. And until they begin holding their pesonnel more accountable, things are only going to get worse.
I stand by Jon Gruden when he says that Roger Goodell is a pussy.