The NFL is caught in another scandal — it’s time for change

Milton Woolfenden, Contributing Writer

When it rains, it pours in the NFL.

After the fiasco that was players kneeling during the national anthem, the league has failed yet again to handle a public relations nightmare after Jacksonville Jaguars coach Urban Meyer and former Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden got caught in the hot seat.

Graphic by Connor Lawless

The NFL is the epitome of a system that allows those in positions of power and influence to evade persecution regardless of their actions.

The dumpster fire started when Meyer traveled to his restaurant in Columbus, Ohio, instead of traveling with his team after a tough 24-21 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

A video of Meyer surfaced Sept. 30 that showed him unprofessionally touching a woman at the restaurant, despite Meyer being married for over 30 years.

This is Meyer’s first job in the NFL, and he’s already knee-deep in controversy. If I was Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan, I would give Meyer the hook once the season is over, especially considering the team’s horrible start to the year.

If the NFL administration thought that Meyer’s incident was bad public relations, it must’ve had a heart attack when reports came out against Gruden.

This past week, a ten-month investigation surrounding Gruden and the Washington Football Team went public following a story by The New York Times.

The report included around 650,000 emails sent to then-Washington Football Team general manager Bruce Allen from 2011 to 2018. The emails included an assortment of racist, misogynistic and homophobic slurs. Gruden also received numerous revealing photos from Allen of Washington cheerleaders.

In a press conference following Gruden’s resignation, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr criticized the leaking of these private emails.

“If we just started opening up everybody’s private emails and texts, people would start sweating a little bit,” Carr said. “Hopefully not too many, but maybe that’s what they should do for all coaches and GMs and owners from now on.”

Come on, Derek. The league would collapse into rubble. I don’t care what these coaches say, everyone has dirt on them.

With the NFL having a long-standing tradition of behind-the-scenes controversy, Washington has to win the award for being the worst.

From the controversy surrounding the team name — and now these emails involving Gruden — team owner Dan Snyder has been at the center of controversy for years.

Allegations of creating a toxic office environment, making misogynistic comments, and forcing cheerleaders to wear extremely revealing clothing have surrounded Snyder since The Washington Post reported on it last year.

Washington cheerleaders also said they weren’t allowed to look at Synder, they had to stare at their keyboard or the ground. If you were late to a meeting or broke etiquette, you would face verbal and often sexual harassment from the Washington owner. Female employees couldn’t be in the same hallway as him.

If Gruden is going to be held accountable for his participation in this secret cabal, then why aren’t we hearing Bruce Allen and Dan Snyder’s names being brought up? In this scenario, Gruden is collateral damage.

While Snyder isn’t directly connected to the emails, that doesn’t mean he should be able to walk away from these allegations completely scot-free. It should not matter how much power you hold or how much money you have, you should be held accountable for your actions.

The NFL has to raise the white flag and admit that it has major organizational issues that need to be addressed. The league is complicit while trying to prop themselves up as if it is without faults.

A new era of accountability must take shape in the NFL, and it must start right at the top with commissioner Roger Goodell.