What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
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At first glance, this looks like a clear-cut case of career suicide worthy of a nomination for the annual awards given out by this blog. Who can’t understand how a guy long on mouth and short on brain might put something seriously idiotic in an email; stuff that was so brain-numbingly dumb that it cost him his him his job?
If you aren’t familiar…or you live under a rock in a cave on the dark side of the Moon which only gets service from Xfinity…I’m talking about former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden. Earlier this month, some emails were unearthed in which Gruden leveled some racially radioactive commentary toward DeMaurirce Smith, the head of the National Football League Player’s Association.
Well, once the Twitter snowball started rolling, it took no time at all for this story to take on a life of its own. The email nails in Gruden’s coffin kept coming, including some choice questioning of National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell’s sexual preference.
But…just like the time I was on the jury for a vehicular manslaughter trial, sometimes things just aren’t as they seem. In that case, it was obvious the guy on trial was a pathetic drunken slob and a serial drunk driver. For the other 11 people on that jury, that was good enough to punch this guy’s ticket. But something didn’t add up, and having been sent to prison myself, I wasn’t about to rubber-stamp a conviction unless I was damn sure about it. I followed a hunch and sure enough…turned out this was a setup. A couple of shady lawyers offed a secretary who “knew too much,” and they tried to make her murder look like a drunk-driving accident. If I hadn’t been on that jury, that guy would have gone to jail and nobody would have known about the murder.
While I was watching the Gruden story unfold, something made the hair on the back of my neck stand up up just like during that trial. Then it hit me…this is another case of something not being what it seems to be. The key isn’t when those emails were made public; it’s in the lag between the time they were written and the time they were released. That means somebody saw those comments when they were originally written back in 2011 and passed them off for what they were…the pointless ramblings of an idiot. Now, if those electronic blatherings had come to light back in 2011 when they were written, this would be an obvious case case death by one’s own keyboard.
But when ten years go by, and then those emails are made public, that’s not suicide…that’s a targeted assassination. Somebody went out of their way to get this guy. Don’t get me wrong, just like that drunk driver, Jon Gruden made himself the perfect “patsy.” But no matter how much of an idiotic asshole he was, this was not “career suicide”…it was flat-out murder.
First, we have to look at who wanted Gruden gone. Again, since this guy was such a blowhard, this isn’t a short list. Let’s start with the least likely suspects and move down to those with the strongest motive.
1) University of Tennessee Supporters:
Sure, this is the longest of the long shots, but there’s something in the water in Knoxville…literally. When Lane Kiffin skulked out of town in the middle of the night ofr the USC job, Vol fans lost their shit to the point where there was a movement asking the City of Knoxville to adorn a sewage treament plant with his name. They also defaced a landmark boulder on the UT campus with various anti-Kiffin and anti-USC graffitti.
If you’re wondering how Jon Gruden fits into this, don’t forget that ever since the Kiffin debacle, Gruden’s name was the one which always came up when there was a “big-time” coaching vacancy, and he was always good for at least one “non-denial denial” of interest in the job, thus driving up the price of disasters like Butch Jones and Greg Schiano.
Maybe it’s just something about obnoxious young Raiders’ coaches.
2) Non-Raider NFL Fans
At least our long national nightmare of Gruden’s days on Monday Night Football is over. Seriously, nobody…and I mean NOBODY…could take anymore of that “Spider Y2 Banana” non-sense. At least as a coach he was easy enough to ignore, but you never know who he may have triggered.
3) Any Number of Reporters
Let’s be honest. For every embarrassing email this moron sent, you know he made at least ten infuriating comments to reporters. In fact, it’s entirely possible something he said to the media is what got this whole mess started (more on that in a minute). After all, not only is Gruden an idiot, he’s also a first-class asshole with the mouth to prove it.
4) DeMaurice Smith
The “revenge” angle here should be obvious. The only question is did Smith just find out about these emails along with the rest of us? If not, why pick now to torpedo Gruden?
5) Roger Goodell
The “revenge” factor again. Not to mention it’s curious that all this started after Gruden made disparaging comments to the media about the NFL’s new “show place;” SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. Goodell had a lot of skin in getting that facility built and in bringing the NFL back to the “City of Angels.” Essentially, Gruden called Goodell’s baby “ugly” and this isn’t the first time he’s been critical of the commissioner. Maybe Goodell finally had heard enough.
6) Mark Davis
Nobody had a better motive than Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis. Don’t forget he gave Gruden a $100 million contractto lure the coach-turned-commentator back to the sidelines. It was clear early on that Davis may have had a bad case of “buyer’s remorse,” and last weekend’s embarrassing loss to the sorry-ass Chicago Bears may very well have been the proverbial final straw.
Can you imagine the irony if Colin Kaepernick and Jon Gruden’s careers were both ended by humiliating losses to some seriously bad Bears’ teams?
But getting back to Gruden, not only is there no better way to get out of a stupidly big contract, especially if there’s a clause in it that would allow Davis not to pay the remainder of it due to Gruden’s idiocy. But more importantly, being free of the Gruden situation might just make people not ask the obvious questions here.
Why did Davis hire Gruden in the first place knowing he’s got a long track record of running his mouth? Why would he hire Gruden without doing a bit of digging to make sure there weren’t any landmines like this out there? Because of those questions, besides Gruden himself, nobody looks like a bigger schmuck in all of this than does Davis.
I wonder how much it cost Davis to get Gruden to resign?