Goodbye Gruden and ongoing Snyder investigation discussion

Awesome Fossum

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2005
2,758
Austin, TX
The cheerleader stuff isn't new news, really, beyond the fact that Gruden was on one of the email forwards. We already knew team employees were editing and sharing photos of cheerleaders exposed during photo sessions. (Including one in which the cheerleaders were flown to Costa Rica, had their passports taken, and had to undress in front of VIPs.)

For whatever reason, that story just hasn't quite resonated with the public in the way it seems like it ought to.
 

mikeot

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 22, 2006
7,328
For whatever reason, that story just hasn't quite resonated with the public in the way it seems like it ought to.
[/QUOTE]


Could it be because the NFL has sat on most of the investigation's report?
 

Awesome Fossum

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2005
2,758
Austin, TX
Well, yeah, the NFL has obviously tried to bury it, but organizations try to bury things all the time and fail. The Washington Post has done extensive reporting on this; it just hasn't seemed to grab hold with the public in the way other things have. And sometimes things just smolder until they explode. Maybe this is the spark that it needs.

Like for example, look at the Peyton Manning accusations and compare it to the Gruden emails. One catches fire and the other doesn't. Is there a rhyme or reason to it? I don't know.
 

Strike4

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
2,637
Portland, Maine
For whatever reason, that story just hasn't quite resonated with the public in the way it seems like it ought to.
I disagree somewhat with this because people focus on the result of "Jon Gruden was fired for racist/homophobic/etc. emails". Every single time something like this happens to a public figure, people see what is written and people talk about why it is bad. Staley, who I am pretty sure does not know the things he said instinctively, speaks like he did. He elaborates on why, he focuses on the harm and the people impacted rather than Gruden, and he does it in a relatable way. Every time that happens people are listening and it starts to sink in. It's a tiny bit of education - but it builds up over time.
 

Van Everyman

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2009
22,551
Newton
I know. I read it at the time. I just didn’t realize Gruden was emailing that material as it was like the third thing that came out in this story. Unreal.
 

SumnerH

Malt Liquor Picker
Dope
Jul 18, 2005
29,291
Alexandria, VA
I remember seeing troubling HS hazing stories like this throughout my lifetime. My assumption has always been that there are some school systems which simply have grown traditions which get out of control. It's very similar to Greek fraternity/sorority hazing. At some schools it's going to be tame and at others with long traditions which have been left unchecked for many years, you're going to have some crazy shit happening.
That hazing story was from my high school. It's weird to read because that never would have happened there in that way in the late 80s/early 90s when I was there—not because people were any better, but football was a laughingstock where only the people who couldn't make a real sports team went. The soccer team was by far the biggest sport around, and the epicenter of hazing (by all accounts as bad as this, too), and even the cross country team was more prestigious. Being on the football team was lower in the social pecking order than being in the drama club, and there was some talk of cutting the sport entirely.

Apparently the recently dismissed coach had turned the program around to the point where they won a state title in 2016 (in division B). It's good to see that there wasn't much of an attempt to protect him when the story came out.
 

jcd0805

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 3, 2007
3,119
Florida
I would encourage anyone who isn't familiar with Davis to watch the recent HBO Real Sports piece on him. Its eye opening to say the least and it goes right in the mush of the narrative that Davis is just some trust fund kid with a bad haircut. I mean, he is exactly that but he is also so much more - he comes across as thoughtful, funny and he even addresses his hairstyle directly. He likes it even if everyone else thinks its a joke.
I will have to look for that episode because yea, I've just always thought of him as a big dunderhead who lucked into an NFL franchise because of his dad's hard work. But no matter how much better he may come across I will never, ever understand anyone thinking his haircut is a good look.
 

mauf

Anderson Cooper × Mr. Rogers
Staff member
Dope
Not sure this is the right thread for this, but Washington just announced they're retiring Sean Taylor's number on Sunday. Absolutely despicable timing.
Taylor had off-field issues, but none of them were germane to the issues that triggered the NFL’s investigation of the team, or nor do they relate to the other matters (Gruden’s remarks) brought to light by that investigation. I would understand not honoring Taylor because of those off-field issues, but once you have gotten past that, I don’t see why these unrelated developments would cause you to change the timing of the festivities.
 

RIFan

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
2,883
Rhode Island
Taylor had off-field issues, but none of them were germane to the issues that triggered the NFL’s investigation of the team, or nor do they relate to the other matters (Gruden’s remarks) brought to light by that investigation. I would understand not honoring Taylor because of those off-field issues, but once you have gotten past that, I don’t see why these unrelated developments would cause you to change the timing of the festivities.
The Taylor number retirement wasn't planned. They are using the Taylor ceremony as a distraction from the reports. That is what has people upset.
 

mauf

Anderson Cooper × Mr. Rogers
Staff member
Dope
The Taylor number retirement wasn't planned. They are using the Taylor ceremony as a distraction from the reports. That is what has people upset.
Ah, gotcha.

Btw, I’m definitely in the camp that Taylor’s transgressions were the sort of things that should be buried with us. But reasonable opinion can differ, and I thought @Jungleland was expressing the opposing view. My bad.
 

EvilEmpire

paying for his sins
Staff member
Dope
Apr 9, 2007
15,218
Washington
The Taylor number retirement wasn't planned. They are using the Taylor ceremony as a distraction from the reports. That is what has people upset.
I don't think this is true.

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/32399601/sean-taylor-become-3rd-player-washington-football-team-franchise-history-jersey-number-retired

Amid skepticism Thursday morning over the timing of the Taylor announcement, a team spokesperson said in a statement that the organization started planning the ceremony before the season started and wanted it to be part of the franchise's alumni weekend. Another former player, ESPN analyst Ryan Clark, said he was contacted in September about attending.
Clark Tweeted that he was contacted on September 22nd.
 

Jungleland

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 2, 2009
1,792
No worries, but yeah it seemed that today was the first public acknowledgement of the retirement ceremony. Not knowing a lot about anything that would be cause for not honoring Taylor, just seems disrespectful to me to use his memory to hide from the current goings-on. If it has been planned for a month, I'm glad that takes away the nefarious aspect of the timing, but imo this past week should have WFT rescheduling anyways.
 
Last edited:

worm0082

Penbis
SoSH Member
Sep 19, 2002
3,776
Maybe the number retirement has been planned for a month+ because they knew this was coming and were waiting to announce it until the Gruden/wft stuff broke?

But there’s a bunch of other redskins players who’s numbers belong up there before Taylor. Darrell Green for example.
 

Awesome Fossum

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2005
2,758
Austin, TX
Maybe. I think it's more likely that they weren't planning to announce it ahead of time at all and changed their minds in an effort to distract. Or honestly, just in an effort to get people out to the stadium at all -- WFT is dead last in attendance by a really wide margin.

Why they wouldn't want to properly promote something like this, I don't know, but this feels more like incompetence than malice to me.

Statement from the team president, for whatever it's worth:

View: https://twitter.com/whoisjwright/status/1448705279709822982


We wanted to do something long overdue by retiring players' numbers. Months ago we planned for Bobby Mitchell and Sean Taylor to be the first two. Seeing the reaction, I'm very sorry that the short notice does not properly reflect the impact Sean had. President's Brief to come...
 

Plantiers Wart

Member
SoSH Member
Oct 16, 2002
3,963
west hartford
Darrell Green? That is criminal. Might he refuse the honor based on some conflict with management? If not, then he absolutely should have been before Taylor.

Among others not retired - Art Monk, Riggins.
 

BusRaker

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 11, 2006
1,358
For whatever reason, that story just hasn't quite resonated with the public in the way it seems like it ought to.
Gruden = Household Name = Clicks = Money
Some random mid-level exec = A few guys googling images of said cheerleaders = Not as much money
 

mauf

Anderson Cooper × Mr. Rogers
Staff member
Dope
Darrell Green? That is criminal. Might he refuse the honor based on some conflict with management? If not, then he absolutely should have been before Taylor.

Among others not retired - Art Monk, Riggins.
Riggins and (especially) his wife have fought the NFL to secure more generous pension and health benefits for retired players. On the merits, Riggins is in line behind Green and Monk, but neither was a fan favorite like Riggins was. I’ll bet his wife’s advocacy is what’s keeping him from being honored.

https://www.washingtonian.com/2019/02/10/bad-news-for-the-nfl-john-riggins-wife-lisa-marie-riggins-is-a-lawyer/
 

PedroKsBambino

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Apr 17, 2003
27,963
I literally don’t think there’s such a thing as a thoughtful person who paid attention to Deflategate and came away believing the Pats or Brady was the bad guy—even pats haters I know acknowledge the NFL was filthy dirty on it by the end.

To be clear, there’s plenty of people who blame Pats around Spygate and other stuff but as I read and talked to people, Deflategate ended up as a situation where the truth was pretty clear in the end even if the league never acknowledged it
 

bigq

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
8,662
That hazing story was from my high school. It's weird to read because that never would have happened there in that way in the late 80s/early 90s when I was there—not because people were any better, but football was a laughingstock where only the people who couldn't make a real sports team went. The soccer team was by far the biggest sport around, and the epicenter of hazing (by all accounts as bad as this, too), and even the cross country team was more prestigious. Being on the football team was lower in the social pecking order than being in the drama club, and there was some talk of cutting the sport entirely.

Apparently the recently dismissed coach had turned the program around to the point where they won a state title in 2016 (in division B). It's good to see that there wasn't much of an attempt to protect him when the story came out.
I went to the same high school at almost the same time and I agree with your comment that the football team was not a powerhouse during that period. I played on the soccer team and have to disagree that the hazing was anything close to having a freshman put a dildo in his mouth. I do not recall any specific hazing rituals (although I was treated like crap by the seniors during my freshman year which was primarily verbal abuse) and I do not think the coach would have put up with the bullshit (assuming he knew about it and had reasonable proof). My senior year a third of the team including one of the team captains was suspended for a quarter of the season for drinking. If something similar to the football hazing incident had happened I think the coach would have alerted the principal and come down very hard on the players. Entirely possible though that some awful things took place that I was unaware of.
 

nocode51

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 6, 2006
746
Maine
I went to the same high school at almost the same time and I agree with your comment that the football team was not a powerhouse during that period. I played on the soccer team and have to disagree that the hazing was anything close to having a freshman put a dildo in his mouth. I do not recall any specific hazing rituals (although I was treated like crap by the seniors during my freshman year which was primarily verbal abuse) and I do not think the coach would have put up with the bullshit (assuming he knew about it and had reasonable proof). My senior year a third of the team including one of the team captains was suspended for a quarter of the season for drinking. If something similar to the football hazing incident had happened I think the coach would have alerted the principal and come down very hard on the players. Entirely possible though that some awful things took place that I was unaware of.
Was Gardner the coach that far back? I coached against him and I would be shocked if he let that kind of thing go on.
 

brace

lurker
Jun 29, 2011
12
That’s interesting - I graduated from Morse in 1985, which for those not familiar was a big rival of Brunswick. We swapped team captains in school for a day leading up to the game. I was friends with a couple of Brunswick players and the football games I attended were always packed. Football appeared, from my perspective, to be the big sport at Brunswick.

I also grew up with the former Brunswick coach, Dan Cooper. I was a few years older, but he was a neighbor of my buddy’s. We weren’t close friends, but we played a lot of back yard games ip through Jr High. After 20 years in the army, I moved back to Maine and lived in Brunswick during the early stages of Dan’s tenure. I spoke with Dan a couple times as my son played football. I’m saddened and dumbfounded this took place.I’ve spoken with my son since, but he said nothing like this happened while he was part of Brunswick football.

I’m pleased the Superintendent took a hard stand. I work for a school district now and his decision has been praised universally where I work. I hope every Superintendent/school board in the nation would make the same decision, but I’m not confident that’s true - even in my current district.
 

bigq

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
8,662
Was Gardner the coach that far back? I coached against him and I would be shocked if he let that kind of thing go on.
Yes. I don’t know exactly when he became coach but I think it was the early 80s.
 

bigq

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
8,662
I’m pleased the Superintendent took a hard stand. I work for a school district now and his decision has been praised universally where I work. I hope every Superintendent/school board in the nation would make the same decision, but I’m not confident that’s true - even in my current district.
I agree with this although I think he was largely forced into the decision by the nature of the videos that got pretty widely distributed. Any other approach have increased the likelihood of the school being sued. I think that is still a very real possibility.
 

SumnerH

Malt Liquor Picker
Dope
Jul 18, 2005
29,291
Alexandria, VA
Was Gardner the coach that far back? I coached against him and I would be shocked if he let that kind of thing go on.
He was when I was there, and was notorious for overlooking bad behavior by the soccer players—especially in his capacity as a math teacher, where you were pretty much guaranteed a good grade if you were on the soccer team unless it would've been completely egregious for him to let you skate..
 

nocode51

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 6, 2006
746
Maine
He was when I was there, and was notorious for overlooking bad behavior by the soccer players—especially in his capacity as a math teacher, where you were pretty much guaranteed a good grade if you were on the soccer team unless it would've been completely egregious for him to let you skate..
Ouch. We played and mostly lost against them a bunch in the early 2000's, the team always seemed to echo his classy and professional behavior. When we actually pulled a tie off against them he was congratulatory and would always give me some tips on how he thought we should adjust things, especially against Ararat.
 

Bleedred

Member
SoSH Member
Feb 21, 2001
8,932
Boston, MA
One nugget from the WFT email investigation are emails exchanged between NFL General Counsel Jeff Pash and GM Bruce Allen regarding "deflategate." Per the WSJ:

"The pair discussed some of the league’s most sensitive issues where Pash had a key role. In a 2015 discussion, when Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were accused of violating NFL rules by deflating footballs, Allen suggested the referees and umpires should be able to control the balls and ensure they are legal. Pash, in his reply, said it would be a lot to ask to tell small differences in air pressure just by feel. “Seems to me that it would be easier if the teams just refrained from tampering with the balls after the ref approves them,” Pash wrote."

Not that Pash had any preconceived notions of the situation.
 

Van Everyman

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2009
22,551
Newton
Peter King, with some interesting reporting on this – he goes hard on Goodell for not coming down on Snyder and gets some interesting quotes about Gruden( tho I will note a distinct absence of him mentioning a word about fellow access journalist extraordinaire, Adam Schefter):

Disgusting Mess In D.C.
The big story of the week is a tale of two famous NFL people, Dan Snyder and Jon Gruden.

Snyder is an owner. In 2009, the Washington franchise paid a female ex-employee $1.6 million after she made a sexual-misconduct complaint against Snyder, per a confidential settlement reported by the Washington Post. His franchise was accused by former team cheerleaders of making lewd videos from off-season cheerleader calendar shoots. Fifteen former employees and two reporters covering the team accused club officials of various forms of sexual harassment and, in several cases, said it was openly condoned by team executives. Former team marketing coordinator Emily Applegate told the Post she and a female co-worker cried over sexual harassment in lunchbreaks. Applegate said she was told to wear a tight dress for one meeting so male clients “would have something to look at.” One suiteholder, the Post reported, grabbed Applegate’s friend’s rear, while a reporter who covered the team, Rhiannon Walker, told the team that the director of pro personnel, Alex Santos, pinched her buttocks and told her she had “an ass like a wagon.” The Post reported another scout, Richard Mann, told a female employee to expect a hug “and don’t worry, that will be a stapler in my pocket, nothing else.” Five former employees told the paper the president of business operations advised female employees to wear suggestive and revealing clothing and to flirt with suiteholders. “It was the most miserable experience of my life,” Applegate told the Post. One former employee who described abuse from Santos said to the paper her experience with the team “has killed any dream of a career in pro sports.” A former cheerleader said she was encouraged by Snyder to join a close friend of his in a hotel room so they could “get to know each other better.” When the league investigated all of it, NFL counsel Lisa Friel concluded the “culture of the club was very toxic.” Commissioner Roger Goodell said the work environment in Washington “for many years” was “highly unprofessional.”

Gruden is a coach. He sent racist, homophobic and anti-woman emails, stunning in how naturally they appeared to flow from Gruden, to former WFT president Bruce Allen over a seven-year period.

Snyder’s franchise was fined $10 million, less than 3 percent of the team’s projected 2021 revenue. He was not suspended and not asked to liquidate the team. The league ordered him marginalized for a few months, with wife Tanya running daily team operations.

Gruden, who coached a majority Black team that employed the only openly gay player in the NFL, resigned as Raiders coach last Monday.

On opening day 2022, it is very likely that Snyder will be overseeing his franchise again. As of now, no long-term sanction will affect him in any way when he resumes full-time control of the team.

On opening day 2022, Gruden will be in exile somewhere, his career ruined, unlikely at 58 to ever coach in the NFL again.

I am not going to defend Gruden in any way—his emails are indefensible, and now that the sun has shone on them, he absolutely should not be coaching an NFL team. But I am going to ask this: What’s worse: An NFL owner running his team like a sixties frat house for at least a decade, with 40 women coming forward to decry sexist treatment by Snyder or his employees, lives and professional dreams shattered in the process; or a Neanderthal coach sending a slew of terrible emails?

Even if you say they are equally bad (I don’t see how) the fact is that Snyder goes on running his jillion-dollar business next year and Gruden hides in his man cave, unemployable.

This absurdly unfair outcome will stick to Roger Goodell for a long, long time.

And I’m not one who even thinks the NFL was behind the release of the emails. League officials might consider Gruden classless and a clown, I don’t know. But what is Goodell’s job? Protect the shield. He’s not going to authorize the release of emails in the middle of a season that would indubitably sabotage a hot franchise in a new market. And he’s certainly not going to do it knowing there are other emails in the queue, emails the New York Times and Wall Street Journal published last week that showed an overly chummy relationship between Allen and the NFL’s second-in-command, trusted Goodell confidant and legal counsel Jeff Pash. The upshot of those emails painted Pash as a Washington patsy.

I don’t know where the emails came from. Several smart people in the league think the leaks come from the Snyder camp. Maybe he feels steamrolled by the league in its July penalty, though it was certainly exactly the opposite. Maybe (probably) he’s so anti-Allen that he’d have a jihad out for him and anyone close to him, which Gruden is.

Whoever did it, this point remains, as one prominent plugged-in source told me: “The discipline against Snyder was shockingly light. You suspend Tom Brady when you never proved without a doubt he deflated the footballs, and you don’t suspend Snyder for running that kind of operation in Washington. And Gruden gets ruined. It’s not like Roger’s protecting a guy who’s good for the league anyway. Where’s the fairness?”

The league did send the offending emails to the Raiders for their examination 10 days ago, putting the onus on owner Mark Davis to do something about Gruden. Once it was clear that the emails would surface publicly, and they did, with great detail in the Times account, Davis had no choice. However it was termed, Gruden could not walk into his diverse locker room last week; he had to go. According to someone who knows Gruden’s mindset post-“resignation,” he is of two minds. One: He is miserable about the families of the 22 coaches and numerous staffers he brought to Vegas who will suffer, and perhaps lose NFL livelihoods, because of his hurtful emails. Two: He is angry (“stunned and fuming,” this person said, describing Gruden) that some investigation that had nothing to do with him resulted in the loss of his job. He does understand, I am told, that the release of these emails made it impossible for him to continue as coach.

I haven’t heard so many differing opinions from around the league on an issue in a while. But this one, from one of the smartest people in the NFL orbit, struck me: “This was a Mafia hit on Gruden.”

Often, I’m told, victims of organized crime rubouts never see them coming. Gruden never saw his coming either.

Chicago Bears v Las Vegas Raiders
Former NFL coach Jon Gruden. (Getty Images)
What should happen now?

Transparency. The league claims it can’t release the emails because it promised confidentiality to the women interviewed in the probe. There’s a compromise. Hire a neutral party with an impeccable reputation to run an investigation of the 650,000 emails. Release those involving women who approve the release, and those that play a part in the evidence of harassment. Among women who do not authorize the release, use the information from those emails in a report with protection for the plaintiffs. And have a report ready when the offseason begins.

What will happen now?

The league will probably stonewall, figuring the white noise of exciting games and The Next Big Story will bury this one in time. That’s how the league works.

I found myself thinking in the past few days about the Washington franchise. When I was new in the business, in the late eighties, games at RFK Stadium in the District of Columbia were mega-events. The press box would shake in big moments. The owner, Jack Kent Cooke, was nutty and intrusive, but he hired Bobby Beathard and Joe Gibbs to win, and win they did—three Super Bowl titles between 1982 and 1992.

Snyder bought the team in 1999. In the 23 years before Snyder’s reign, Washington was 50 games over .500 in the regular season and won three Super Bowls. In the 23 years of Snyder’s stewardship, Washington is 55 games under .500 in the regular season. Playoffs? Just two wild-card wins. That’s it.

One offensive man, an owner, who is rotten at his job, skates.

Another offensive man, a coach, who is okay at his job, gets buried.

Life in the NFL.
https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2021/10/18/cowboys-dak-prescott-nfl-week-6-fmia-peter-king/
 

Average Reds

Dope
Staff member
Dope
V&N Mod
SoSH Member
Sep 24, 2007
33,742
Southwestern CT
Here's the only complaint I have with King's article. His observation about how the NFL conducts business is 100% on the money. As is his observation that Dan Snyder is getting a pass for behavior that was, at minimum, as unacceptable as what has been reported about Gruden. The problem is that, despite his numerous disclaimers, his tone is unmistakably sympathetic to Gruden, because of what he sees as a disproportionate outcome - the effective end of Gruden's career.

What King fails to grasp (or maybe he just failed to articulate properly) is that what happened to Gruden isn't unfair or disproportionate in any way. He got precisely what he deserved. Instead of complaining, King should be pointing out that precedent demands that Snyder and others be punished similarly.
 

reggiecleveland

sublime
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Mar 5, 2004
26,678
Saskatoon Canada
What King fails to grasp (or maybe he just failed to articulate properly) is that what happened to Gruden isn't unfair or disproportionate in any way. He got precisely what he deserved. Instead of complaining, King should be pointing out that precedent demands that Snyder and others be punished similarly.
That is precisely what he says. He says repeatedly that Snyder got off easy, and that Gruden deserved what he got.
 

joe dokes

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
24,130
Here's the only complaint I have with King's article. His observation about how the NFL conducts business is 100% on the money. As is his observation that Dan Snyder is getting a pass for behavior that was, at minimum, as unacceptable as what has been reported about Gruden. The problem is that, despite his numerous disclaimers, his tone is unmistakably sympathetic to Gruden, because of what he sees as a disproportionate outcome - the effective end of Gruden's career.

What King fails to grasp (or maybe he just failed to articulate properly) is that what happened to Gruden isn't unfair or disproportionate in any way. He got precisely what he deserved. Instead of complaining, King should be pointing out that precedent demands that Snyder and others be punished similarly.
I thought he said exactly what you say he didn't. It's certainly possible that the shield-defenders will say, "King's right, so to make the punishments more equal, we'll go easy on Gruden." But that's not how I read King at all.. He seems pretty clearly to be saying that neither one should be involved in the NFL.
 

Ralphwiggum

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporter
SoSH Member
Jun 27, 2012
8,727
Needham, MA
The problem is King uses the word "unfair". Who is it unfair to? If you believe, as King says he does, that Gruden has no business coaching a football team anymore, the result is not "unfair" to him. I agree with AR that you can read into this a sympathetic tone for Gruden, particularly as compared with what he believes will happen to Snyder. Even if Snyder gets off easy Gruden deserves no sympathy.

Maybe he meant something different but he's a professional writer and those are the words he wrote.
 

RIrooter09

Alvin
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2008
6,760
I definitely picked up on the sympathy for Gruden as well. Why even compare the two situations if you're not trying to garner sympathy? Mention that Gruden got exactly what he deserved and then go hard at Snyder and the league. No need to keep bringing up poor Jon Gruden.
 

Average Reds

Dope
Staff member
Dope
V&N Mod
SoSH Member
Sep 24, 2007
33,742
Southwestern CT
That is precisely what he says. He says repeatedly that Snyder got off easy, and that Gruden deserved what he got.
I thought he said exactly what you say he didn't. It's certainly possible that the shield-defenders will say, "King's right, so to make the punishments more equal, we'll go easy on Gruden." But that's not how I read King at all.. He seems pretty clearly to be saying that neither one should be involved in the NFL.
As I said in my post, I was responding to the tone and commenting that "despite his numerous disclaimers" he is clearly sympathetic to Gruden. And I absolutely stand by that.

I do agree that what King wrote is not a defense of Gruden. But the clear implication of several passages in his piece is that, because he knows nothing will happen to Snyder, Gruden's punishment is disproportionate and extreme.

Now, that may be related to the fact that King is just a shitty writer and often expresses himself in ethically awkward ways. But that's how it hit me.
 

ManicCompression

Member
SoSH Member
May 14, 2015
652
Who is it unfair to?
The women who were treated like prostitutes as part of a pattern of sexual harassment that spanned decades, the Washington Football Team employees that have to continue to go to work for Dan Snyder and his family after the NFL slaps him on the wrist, the other people in the NFL who don't serially harass women and create an environment like this, the next generation of women who will work for NFL owners and executives who now know that a toxic work environment for women will earn you nothing more than a small fine. The list pretty extensive. I feel like, from King's words, he's looking for proportionality - if Gruden's private emails deserve this kind of condemnation, then Snyder should receive a far worse fate from the league.

This is the first time I've ever had appreciation for King. He went after the big targets: an owner who inflicted remarkable harm on a wide variety of women over a long period of time and has such a laundry list of allegations against his franchise that some or all of it has to be true AND a commissioner who is blatantly trying to distract while sweeping those abuses under the rug. Typically this is where reporters and opinion writers turtle because they want to protect their sources. It's really easy to write the pile-on Gruden article because he's gone and useless, but it takes some guts to point the target at more powerful figures once everything settles. If this starts a more public rebuke of the way the NFL is handling Snyder, then I'm all for it. It's not a bad thing to keep this in the public eye.
 

reggiecleveland

sublime
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Mar 5, 2004
26,678
Saskatoon Canada
As I said in my post, I was responding to the tone and commenting that "despite his numerous disclaimers" he is clearly sympathetic to Gruden. And I absolutely stand by that.
I don't have a problem with that. The idea that somebody pays this steep of a price, and deserves to pay a price should be enough no? Must he declare Gruden irredeemable and an object of hate as well?
 

Ralphwiggum

Well-Known Member
Gold Supporter
SoSH Member
Jun 27, 2012
8,727
Needham, MA
The women who were treated like prostitutes as part of a pattern of sexual harassment that spanned decades, the Washington Football Team employees that have to continue to go to work for Dan Snyder and his family after the NFL slaps him on the wrist, the other people in the NFL who don't serially harass women and create an environment like this, the next generation of women who will work for NFL owners and executives who now know that a toxic work environment for women will earn you nothing more than a small fine. The list pretty extensive. I feel like, from King's words, he's looking for proportionality - if Gruden's private emails deserve this kind of condemnation, then Snyder should receive a far worse fate from the league.

This is the first time I've ever had appreciation for King. He went after the big targets: an owner who inflicted remarkable harm on a wide variety of women over a long period of time and has such a laundry list of allegations against his franchise that some or all of it has to be true AND a commissioner who is blatantly trying to distract while sweeping those abuses under the rug. Typically this is where reporters and opinion writers turtle because they want to protect their sources. It's really easy to write the pile-on Gruden article because he's gone and useless, but it takes some guts to point the target at more powerful figures once everything settles. If this starts a more public rebuke of the way the NFL is handling Snyder, then I'm all for it. It's not a bad thing to keep this in the public eye.
I don't disagree with anything you wrote here, except I don't think that's what King meant by fair. He could have said all of that if he wanted to, he's got a whole platform and everything. To me the "unfair" was clearly in reference to Gruden getting the hammer and Snyder not. The word "proportionality" makes sense and I agree, again King is a professional writer and could have/should have used that word if that is what he was getting at.

No argument from me on him taking on Snyder and the NFL too, it is the right thing to do. I just think it could have been done as well or even better without dragging Gruden into it. The Snyder situation really has nothing to do with the Gruden situation.
 

Van Everyman

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2009
22,551
Newton
That was kind of my take as well. King is (or was) every bit as much of an insider as Schefter and has bent over backwards to protect his sources or give them an out over the years. Here, he absolutely gives it to Goodell and extensively recounts the WaPo’s details of the egregious treatment of the WFT cheerleaders.

To the extent his tone is maybe more favorable toward Gruden, it seemed mostly because he quotes one of his sources as saying “where’s the fairness” when comparing his punishment to Snyder’s.

If you’re going to invoke fairness, it seems the much better comparison would be Jerry Richardson who was pushed out as owner of the Panthers over sexual harassment incidents that, at least publicly, were not nearly as institutional (my guess is that what Mary Jo White found was much worse).

I am somewhat more hopeful that Snyder will get pushed out over this – tho puzzled why it’s taken so long. This guy is Donald Sterling and has absolutely tanked one of the most valuable franchises in the game.
 

ManicCompression

Member
SoSH Member
May 14, 2015
652
I don't disagree with anything you wrote here, except I don't think that's what King meant by fair. He could have said all of that if he wanted to, he's got a whole platform and everything. To me the "unfair" was clearly in reference to Gruden getting the hammer and Snyder not. The word "proportionality" makes sense and I agree, again King is a professional writer and could have/should have used that word if that is what he was getting at.

No argument from me on him taking on Snyder and the NFL too, it is the right thing to do. I just think it could have been done as well or even better without dragging Gruden into it. The Snyder situation really has nothing to do with the Gruden situation.
If you're going to say Peter King is a bad writer, no argument from me. It is impossible, though, to untangle the Gruden piece from the Snyder piece because the Gruden revelation is the only new piece of information that's been revealed from the investigation so far. From my POV, the Gruden part illuminates the injustices by Snyder et al because they spent millions on this investigation and all the public really knows is that Gruden is a dirtbag and Schefter is a weasel - there's no direct corroboration for the Snyder's crew behavior despite all that digging (which seems pretty impossible considering everything we know about them from previous allegations). That's pretty suspect. To weigh one public (and NFL) judgment against the other and ask when the other shoe will drop seems like a fair thesis to me. If the optics are that you can be blackballed for private emails, but nurturing a toxic work environment for women (some of whom aren't even employed by you) is fine if you have enough power in the league, that ain't great.

IMO, every single reporter who has a backbone should be treating this like a Donald Sterling situation and force the NFL to show that there will be steep penalties for it. They can't just rub their hands and say "Welp, we got Gruden, maybe we'll catch that rascally Snyder next time!"
 

mauf

Anderson Cooper × Mr. Rogers
Staff member
Dope
Here's the only complaint I have with King's article. His observation about how the NFL conducts business is 100% on the money. As is his observation that Dan Snyder is getting a pass for behavior that was, at minimum, as unacceptable as what has been reported about Gruden. The problem is that, despite his numerous disclaimers, his tone is unmistakably sympathetic to Gruden, because of what he sees as a disproportionate outcome - the effective end of Gruden's career.

What King fails to grasp (or maybe he just failed to articulate properly) is that what happened to Gruden isn't unfair or disproportionate in any way. He got precisely what he deserved. Instead of complaining, King should be pointing out that precedent demands that Snyder and others be punished similarly.
King’s assumption that Snyder is getting a pass isn’t supported by evidence, and renders the rest of his analysis worthless.

It would be great if NFL owners decided that Snyder’s decision to place Bruce Allen in charge of his franchise, and to keep him in that role long after it became clear that Allen was morally unfit, was enough to force Snyder to sell the team. But it’s understandable (imo) that NFL owners didn’t want to set that precedent.

If you think that the NFL found stuff in Snyder’s emails that is as bad as what Gruden wrote, then yeah, it’s an outrage that he still owns the team. But I don’t believe that’s what happened. In fact, I think the NFL launched this unprecedented investigation to find precisely that sort of smoking-gun evidence, and came up empty.
 

Van Everyman

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2009
22,551
Newton
Of course, it’s entirely possible that the plan all along was for Beth Wilkinson to come up empty.

@mauf I suspect you’ll disagree with me. But I can’t stand this whole recent trend toward “independent” investigations headed by respected legal minds to “get to the bottom” of a burgeoning scandal. They give the illusion of transparency and accountability but mostly seem engineered to identify the most damaging elements, minimize the fallout and protect the institution.

I get that it’s not a 1-for-1 comparison. But it’s like the legal version of Exponent of providing blue ribbon science for hire with a predetermined outcome. And yet time and again we are told we should trust the results.
 

mauf

Anderson Cooper × Mr. Rogers
Staff member
Dope
Of course, it’s entirely possible that the plan all along was for Beth Wilkinson to come up empty.

@mauf I suspect you’ll disagree with me. But I can’t stand this whole recent trend toward “independent” investigations headed by respected legal minds to “get to the bottom” of a burgeoning scandal. They give the illusion of transparency and accountability but mostly seem engineered to identify the most damaging elements, minimize the fallout and protect the institution.

I get that it’s not a 1-for-1 comparison. But it’s like the legal version of Exponent of providing blue ribbon science for hire with a predetermined outcome. And yet time and again we are told we should trust the results.
A reputable law firm won’t knowingly lend its name to a whitewash, but beyond that, you should view a law-firm investigation as you would an internal investigation, not an independent investigation.

In deciding how much weight to give a law-firm investigation, I consider the following factors:

1. Who commissioned the firm’s investigation (i.e., who is the firm’s client)?

2. What was the scope of the investigation?

3. Was the investigation announced in advance, or after the fact?

In this case, the Commissioner’s office hired the firm to investigate the WFT’s internal personnel practices and announced this in advance. From that, I infer that Goodell wasn’t worried that he would be implicated, and that he was fine burying Snyder if that was where the evidence led. (Indeed, I think he hoped to bury Snyder, but that’s speculation on my part.)

Because the Gruden and Pash emails were outside the scope of the investigation, I wouldn’t expect them to be included in the firm’s report, though the firm probably brought them to the league’s attention. We’re obviously not sure how the league intended to deal with those emails before they leaked. And we don’t know if the firm found anything else outside the scope of its investigation that hasn’t come to light yet.
 

Van Everyman

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 30, 2009
22,551
Newton
Right. Of course nothing germane to the actual investigation has come to light at all. The verbal report Wilkinson was asked to deliver suggests to me that they were worried about a written report for some reason – that it would leak, that it would create more problems than it solved, etc. I don’t know. It doesn't seem to suggest that the league took it that seriously tho maybe there were other factors. You’d think that a written report could have at least demonstrated how thorough her team was, even if their findings weren’t particularly insightful.

But the absurdly light penalty—$10M and quasi giving up control of the team to his wife for some indeterminate period of time—doesn’t even comport with what we already knee about Snyder per what the WaPo reported (and King recounted). So even if they weren’t the primary audience, the public is left with more questions than answers from this investigation. And given where things stand, that seems like a bad outcome for the league.
 

Average Reds

Dope
Staff member
Dope
V&N Mod
SoSH Member
Sep 24, 2007
33,742
Southwestern CT
A reputable law firm won’t knowingly lend its name to a whitewash, but beyond that, you should view a law-firm investigation as you would an internal investigation, not an independent investigation.
This strikes me as a bit misleading, in the sense that one man's whitewash is another man's effective representation.

I'm not a lawyer, but I've been a part of cases in the corporate world where the law firm - and I'm talking very prestigious names - is retained specifically for the purpose of allowing the client to conduct their own investigations and then selectively shield information behind the attorney-client privilege while creating the illusion of transparency. And not only is the law firm aware of it, it's their selling point.

In this case, the Commissioner’s office hired the firm to investigate the WFT’s internal personnel practices and announced this in advance. From that, I infer that Goodell wasn’t worried that he would be implicated, and that he was fine burying Snyder if that was where the evidence led. (Indeed, I think he hoped to bury Snyder, but that’s speculation on my part.)
Let's remember that the end result of this multi-million dollar legal engagement was an oral briefing. From that, I infer that Goodell expected the information to be so damaging that he wanted to ensure that the findings are not discoverable in any future legal proceeding that may be able to pierce attorney-client privilege. (The ongoing litigation with the female employees comes to mind.) Beyond this, I'll point out that whether the issue is racism, sexism, player safety, domestic violence or anything that threatens the image of the NFL, Goodell has an established track of hiring the best, most prestigious legal representatives available for the sole purpose of "protecting the shield."

All of this is why I believe that Goodell went into the investigation with the desire to protect Snyder (who is, after all, one of his bosses) but with a willingness to bury him if the cost of protecting him was too damaging for the league. If that happened (or happens), he simply obtains the concurrence of the rest of the owners and Snyder is gone. Which is almost exactly what he did in the case of Jerry Richardson.

Because the Gruden and Pash emails were outside the scope of the investigation, I wouldn’t expect them to be included in the firm’s report, though the firm probably brought them to the league’s attention. We’re obviously not sure how the league intended to deal with those emails before they leaked. And we don’t know if the firm found anything else outside the scope of its investigation that hasn’t come to light yet.
Once again, it's important to remember that the league is claiming not to have even received a written report. And yet, they were able to pull specific emails (that were outside of the scope) from a trove of 650,000 that they reviewed and use them to destroy Gruden.

The inescapable conclusion (to me) is that this episode was a warning to Snyder that he needs to settle with the former employees currently suing him for sexual harassment.