When the content of Jon Gruden’s emails was released, it made a lot of people wonder just how many other NFL coaches felt the same way.

We’ve heard from plenty of people around the league, from Raiders legend Art Shell, who was “shocked.” We’ve heard from former players like Keyshawn Johnson, who played for Gruden and called him a “fraud.” We’ve heard from current players like Aaron Rodgers, who said “there are opinions that just don’t belong in the game.” We’ve heard from a former NFL player in the LGBTQ community who noted that it’s not like Gruden was sending those emails to himself and more needed to be done.

Wednesday, Los Angeles Chargers coach Brandon Staley was asked about the emails during a press conference and the 38-year-old offered up perhaps the best response we’ve heard from an NFL coach. Staley, who has become a favorite of many for his soundbites, offered up an insightful and thoughtful response to the content of the emails and why they don’t have to define the people involved in the NFL.

“Respect and trust in this world are really, really difficult to achieve. I think about all the people that were affected by those emails, whether you’re a person of color, whether you’re a person, you know, a gender, your sexual orientation… That’s who I’m thinking about because it’s a sacred mantle for someone to call you ‘coach’ or someone to call you a leader.

“Trust is really, really hard to achieve in this world. It’s really, really challenging to achieve, especially with people with those groups that I just mentioned. People are really guarded and skeptical of people because of emails like that.

“Kindness and lifting people up and respecting people you don’t know, I just think that that’s such a big part of our thing here … listening to people and learning about people because I think what you’ll discover is that we have so much more in common than not.

“For someone like me, it’s just incumbent upon you to set the example every single day so that people that were talked about in those emails that they don’t need to feel that way, they shouldn’t feel that way.

“Hopefully, all of us can learn from this, that it’s about bringing people together for me, so that people can become the people that they dream about. For me, leading this football team and being someone, hopefully, we can be a light for those people in those emails that not everybody’s like that, that there’s far more people that will love you than the opposite.

“Hopefully, this will be a chance for everybody to come together instead of go apart.”

Well said. And we hope that there are more people on the same page as Staley as there are with Gruden.


About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to sean@thecomeback.com.