“I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone.”
with them words, John Gruden walked Monday evening after the Las Vegas Raiders and the NFL E-mail He criticized the author as a female referee, a gay draftee, a black union executive And players kneeling during the national anthem to protest social injustice.
Credit to Gruden: At least he’s an equal opportunity big.
I’m not naive enough to be surprised that racist, misogynistic, homophobic and transphobic ideologies exist in the NFL – both decades ago and today. In fact, Gruden’s reprehensible behavior reflects an underlying corporate and workplace culture that continues to condemn, criticize and boycott people of color, women, and LGBTQ+ individuals.
We are reportedly aware of secret emails and instant messages shared between coworkers and supervisors. We hear lewd comments made during virtual or in-person meetings. We find that diversity, equality and inclusion are scorned as policies are discussed and implemented. Trust me, we know. It’s not paranoia – it’s the burden we bear every day.
But there is – and should be – a high standard in corporate America. Email is an extension of an individual, a written statement of personal beliefs. Gruden said exactly what he said – and he meant it. No, we can’t always control careless behavior and careless speech – written or spoken – in the workplace. But examples can be made of people like Gruden, examples that will hopefully educate others and root out bigotry in all fields. Because such vitriol is unacceptable in the NFL or any place of business. This should not be acceptable anywhere.
Don’t defend Gruden. Don’t treat him as a scapegoat. His workplace may be a football field, but there are many people occupying the front office who need to learn from his fall from grace.
Note: This is what accountability looks like in the business world. Gruden is not a victim of cancellation culture; He has proved he doesn’t have the moral aptitude or human empathy to remain a multibillion dollar leader industry. Now he is forced to deal with the consequences of his actions.
Remember what Gruden said in his statement Monday night when he was gone? “I never meant to hurt anyone.” well he did; His hatred hurt many people. And now he has no work. I’m sure he’s sorry.