Jon Gruden resigned as Las Vegas Raiders head coach on Monday following the release of emails full of homophobic, racist, and misogynistic comments. While plenty of people were shocked and others are saying the comments reflect who he was in person as well, one former NFL veteran is speaking up about what the league needs to do next.
NFL veteran Ryan Russell, who came out as bisexual in 2019, played for three seasons in the league with the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The former NFL player spoke with CNN’s New Day on Tuesday and said that allowing Gruden to resign should just be the start of this process.
“I don’t think it’s enough, I think it’s reactive of the investigation of what is happening,” Russell said. “I think the next step that the league needs to take is being proactive in making sure that the coaches that they hire, the players that they draft, the organization that they form are being inclusive, are being supportive and are held to that standard not when things come to light but all the time.
“That’s accountability, doing the right thing when no one is looking. The integrity level is what is being challenged here.”
Russell noted that it’s not like Gruden was just writing those emails to no one. There were other people involved in the NFL who received them and did nothing about it.
“Jon Gruden wasn’t sending those emails to himself, there were other people that knew about it,” Russell added. “There were other people that were involved across the league and this went unchecked for years so no, resigning is not accountability, it’s not enough — it’s something reactive.”
It remains to be seen if the NFL will take any action regarding Gruden’s emails, if punishments might be doled out, or if there will be any new policies put into place. The unfortunate truth is that it’s not that surprising to see someone in Gruden’s position hold those kinds of views given the toxic nature intertwined in athletics. There’s still a lot of work to be done in terms of accountability and education, but we’ll see if the NFL takes any necessary steps.