Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden resigned from the NFL on Monday after reporting revealed a slew of racist, homophobic, and misogynistic comments he wrote in emails between 2011 and 2018, while employed as a broadcaster for ESPN. Now, right-wing media figures are defending Gruden’s comments and making him a martyr of the so-called “cancel culture.”
Gruden’s resignation comes after The Wall Street Journal reported on racist comments he made about DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFL Players Association. The New York Times detailed more emails in which Gruden “denounced the emergence of women as referees, the drafting of a gay player and the tolerance of players protesting during the playing of the national anthem,” in addition to making other derogatory and hateful comments.
As Gruden stepped down, right-wing media figures ran interference for the disgraced former coach and broadcaster, decrying his resignation and claiming that the whole episode is a symptom of “mob justice” and “cancel culture.” Here is a sample of such reactions:
- Newsmax host Greg Kelly described Gruden’s stepping down as “really, really sick stuff” and blamed “mob mentality” as the reason he was forced out of the league. Kelly suggested that because “the culture was different” when Gruden was a child, it was understandable why he would use homophobic slurs. He then suggested that “white men are under attack” because they do not have “special protections” like disabled people and ethnic minorities.
- On October 12, right-wing YouTuber Steven Crowder proclaimed that Gruden said nothing “offensive or fireable."
- On Fox News Primetime, Fox & Friends Weekend co-host Will Cain said that Gruden is a victim of wrongful “executions and mob justice.”
- On YouTube, TurningPoint USA founder Charlie Kirk claimed that Gruden was fired because “he's a white, Catholic, conservative male.”
- On The Ingraham Angle, Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL) suggested that forcing Gruden’s resignation is part of the “left’s agenda” to “divide America."
- Right-wing news site The Federalist published a piece titled “The Jon Gruden Story Isn’t About The NFL. It’s About Our Culture’s Growing Contempt For White Men.” The Federalist also published an article by Fox News host Ben Domenech, who wrote that Gruden’s resignation is a “new level of cancel culture.”
- The Daily Wire host Matt Walsh claimed Gruden’s racist comment that DeMaurice Smith has “big lips” is “statistically correct.”
- Real America’s Voice host Jeff Crouere proclaimed that Gruden is a victim of the “woke mob.”