Stop venerating men who care about nothing but football

This was written by Bleacher Report in 2016 in a profile about Jon Gruden, former Raiders head coach.
Gruden, who was the head coach for the Raiders and Buccaneers at the time, woke up every morning at 3:17 to the Notre Dame fight songs. It was a childhood relic that he lost his alarm clock. He is now awakened by his cellphone. He can choose between four different alarms: 4:29, 4:15, 4:00, 3;52, 3 :47, 3 :45, 3:30, and 3:15.

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This is not the first instance of a man's obsession with football being described as a positive. Therapy may be required. Adam Gase, a former Jets coach, reportedly left his wife shortly after giving birth and chose to meet with Peyton Manning.

Jennifer said that they didn't put my organs back or sew me up.

The story was a charming anecdote about Gase's willingness to make sacrifices, rather than psychopathic behavior. Gruden's obsession with football is legendary.

It shouldn't be surprising that a coach who was so obsessed with football found himself with a whole trove of racist, homophobic, and sexist emails, just waiting for them to be released to the public. It's amazing that we didn't discover these emails earlier. The NFL, in particular, is not interested in employing worldly, well-rounded individuals. It only cares about winning football games. We've all laughed at the league's attempts to cover decades of racism, sexism, and homophobia by hiring a few token employees and using a few slogans in the end-zone. Because of its leaders, the entire league is in disarray.

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Gruden was a man who signed Richie Incognito, the notorious homophobic, racist, and sexist bully, to his football team. This despite a history that includes bullying and some form of sociopathy. Here's Gruden's reaction to Incognitos signing for the Raiders.

[Incognito] was the best last time he strapped it on. That position [left guard] needs to be solidified. It was a difficult spot last year. We played four left guards, and it hurt us. Richie should find his feet again, as he did a few years ago. He is a great player and he knows it.

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Yes. This man attacked a guy at his gym and tortured a younger player. We need a left guard!

Jon Gruden decided that Antonio Brown was the player his team needed. He had not yet been accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct, but had settled a case for throwing furniture from his 14th-floor balcony and nearly striking a 2-year-old child below. It is a bit bewildering that this isn't a warning sign for anyone who knew what Brown would do, but FOOTBALL.

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Over the many decades I've been a football fan, the men who hold positions in the NFL have failed to see the damage that football and its players can cause to the people around them. Domestic abuse is not as important as football. Football is better than sexual assault. Football is better than child abuse. Football can trump and even excuse racism. Football demands that you continue playing even if you have a concussion or a fractured neck, or a cracked spine. Your quality of life is not affected. Football must be fed, nourished, and prioritized above all else.

Teams that hire men who only care about football should not be surprised if they don't really care about anything else. Is it really shocking that the football, fuck yes! NFL coach sent topless photos demeaning female referees?! Is it possible that a white man makes his living by the beating of Black bodies? But we are not. However, propriety requires that we pretend to be. By signing up for the NFL, you agree to not think about certain things until they are confronted. We all know which types of men thrive and excel in the NFL. It is bizarre that the league continues to hire the same types coaches, extolling their narrow view of the world and then firing them when it becomes clear.

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Next time a media outlet publishes a piece about the sacrifices that a head coach makes for FOOTBALL we might take a step back to ask ourselves if this is the type of person we want to be in charge of others. Is it realistic to expect someone who is blinded by football to create a safe environment for their players? To ensure their safety and health. To be concerned about violence against women, racism and homophobia To support players in their protests against injustice To balance football with more important things in your life?

Insanity is the inability to do the same thing repeatedly and expect a different outcome. It is time to redefine what a football man is.

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