Jon Gruden Fallout: Whiteness At Center Of NFL Rot

head coach’s disparaging emails containing racist, misogynistic, homophobic and transphobic content
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Last weekend, the NFL (the world’s most profitable sports league) found itself in an all-too-familiar controversy after a now-former head coach’s disparaging emails containing racist, misogynistic, homophobic and transphobic content were brought to light by a third-party investigation.

After the first emails were released last week, the former head coach in question, Jon Gruden of the Las Vegas Raiders, stood in front of reporters and said: “I don’t have an ounce of racism in me. I’m a guy that takes pride in leading people together. And I’ll continue to do that for the rest of my life.”

The type of leadership Gruden referenced in his mad dash to damage control is everywhere, from the league’s ownership groups to its front offices and coaching staff. It demands the protection of men like Gruden while ostracizing anyone who dares challenge the dominant system of power (like Colin Kaepernick). Its existence has resulted in what some have described as a culture of rot throughout the league.

What’s fascinating and perhaps unique about the coverage, response and fallout of the league’s most recent controversy is how clear it’s made it that whiteness is at the epicentre of this rot.

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