Jon Gruden is Out. What Lessons Can Christians Learn?
As long as Al Davis was alive, he would always be the face of the Raiders, but when he passed away, the Raiders did not have a face of the franchise. Al's son, Mark, is the owner, but he just doesn't have a big personality, certainly not big enough to be the face of the franchise. In 2018, the Raiders were simply floundering. It seemed no reputable coach wanted to take on the task of coaching the Raiders. Jon Gruden was the last head coach who had a good bit of success with the Raiders. At least, they were not a laughingstock under him, so Mark Davis called Gruden and convinced him to leave the broadcast booth and return to the Raiders. A 10 year contract worth about 100 million dollars didn't hurt when it came time to convince Gruden. The won-loss record of the Raiders since then is not what their fans want it to be, but it had improved under Gruden, and Jon Gruden was most certainly the face of the Raiders. I know Mike Mayock was and is the General Manager, but I'm certain all significant football decisions went through Gruden.
On Monday, a story surfaced that while the NFL was investigating the Washington Football Team's upper management mess, emails written by Gruden to Bruce Allen contained language and opinions that were racist, homophobic and prejudiced against women, and they happened from about 2011 through 2018 when he rejoined the Raiders. It didn't take long for Mark Davis to meet with him, and Gruden resigned after the meeting. If he had not resigned, I'm certain he would have been fired.
If you look at social media today, you will see everything from saying Gruden got what he deserved to saying Gruden was cancelled by our cancel culture. So, who is right?
When I was growing up as a White boy and playing sports in North Carolina, that is exactly how we talked. We had seen our parents and other family members do it, so we fell right in line. In fact, when I was in the 5th grade, a bunch of us boys were standing around the heating radiator in the back of the room before school started, and jokes were being told. They were crude jokes and often were racist. I repeated a racist joke that I had heard. Nobody laughed. I thought that was odd until I realized the only Black boy in my class had come into the room and was standing behind me. I was embarrassed, but more than that. I saw what that did to him. I could tell he was hurt by it. I knew that Jesus would not want us to be telling jokes like that, but that had not stopped me from doing it. However, this made me really think. I decided right then that Black boy was a person just like me. He had feelings just like me. He was one of God's children just like me. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that it is a sin to be Black or White or any other race. So, it was time for me to stop telling racist jokes and time to break away from what some, but not all, of my family had done all of their lives.
As far as my opinion on what we should think of Jon Gruden is concerned, I will tell you that I am not a fan of cancel culture. If a person does something wrong a time or two in their lives, they should not be dismissed forever. That's not what the Bible teaches. However, if you do things that Gruden apparently did for a very long period of time and you get caught before you apologize, you kind of cancel yourself, certainly from being a head coach in the NFL. Does God forgive us if we repent and are truly sorry for our transgressions? Yes, He does! And, that's what I hope for Jon Gruden going forward.
I have concentrated on the racist remarks that Gruden made. He also seems to be prejudiced against women, at least in some respects. That's not a good idea, either. He also made homophobic remarks. The Bible has plenty to say about homosexuality, but I'll let that be a topic for a future blog.
May God always be your number 1 draft pick!