Former NFL coach Jon Gruden resigned Monday night as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders after emails surfaced of him using homophobic, racist and misogynistic language. The emails were uncovered by the New York Times during a seven-year investigation of workplace misconduct at the Washington Football Team.
Since Gruden’s resignation, Colin Kaperernick has been trending on social media. Many folks are inferring that Gruden’s resignation proves that the former quarterback for the San Fransico 49ers who lost his job after kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality was right about the NFL all along.
In 2017, at least three NFL owners were asked to turn over emails and phone records related to the collusion case Kaepernick brought against the league. In the lawsuit, Kaepernick claimed league owners colluded against him after he refused to stand for the national anthem during the 2016 preseason. The lawsuit ended with Kaepernick and fellow teammate Eric Reid settling with the NFL. No emails were ever released.
Now that Gruden’s emails have been thrust into the spotlight, folks are wondering what could have been in those emails about Kaepernick that forced the league to settle out of court?
Gruden’s openness to spew such hateful speech suggests he was comfortable in his racism. And in that comfort, Gruden became one of the NFL’s highest-paid coaches, signing a 10-year, $100 million contract with the Raiders in 2018. Kaepernick on the other hand never played in the NFL again.
That hypocrisy is the reason why Kaepernick’s name will always be relevant. He took a knee so folks would pay more attention to injustices happening to Black and brown people all over the world, but instead he was vilified.
Now NFL coaches and execs are being outed for their racist ways, proving Kaepernick had a point about the league all along. They didn’t support him when he was screaming at the top of his lungs about Black and brown boys dying at the hands of the police. Then, when he kneeled, they coddled the racists who made it about the flag. They allowed the bigots to control the narrative. This caused the league even more scrutiny. It never can seem to get right when it comes to race relations.
Meanwhile, Kaepernick is still telling his story. His scripted Netflix drama, Colin in Black and White, premieres Oct. 29. The former NFL star teamed up with Ava DuVernay for a six-episode series about Kaepernick’s life growing up a star athlete as Black kid in a white family and a white community.