Roger Goodell tarnished ‘NFL’s values’ long before Jon Gruden



Reader Keith Marston has a splendid idea: Now that Jon Gruden is available and has shown himself to be a vulgar, women-degrading racially inflammatory bigot, he qualifies to perform at halftime of the Super Bowl.

Let’s get the preliminaries out of the way. In my estimation, Gruden, during his eight years as an analyst on “Monday Night Football” — another feckless big-name TV hire — stole millions from Disney.

He was consistently unprepared to say anything of value unless audiences were enthralled with arcane “Spider 2-Y banana,” and “The ol’ Tampa-two” formations — and transparent filler such as “this Detroit Lions National Football League team.”

Worse, for some untreated reason, he froze out Sean McDonough, diminishing the value of ESPN’s best football play-by-play man — not that ESPN would know it. And try as McDonough did, Gruden failed to pay attention to the games.

This week, as you know, Gruden was relegated to the past tense. Good riddance, said the NFL in a statement, condemning Gruden’s childishly crude and hateful emails sent starting 10 years ago when Gruden, at 48, was young and didn’t know any better.

Those emails, puffed the NFL, are “wholly contrary to the NFL’s values.”

And that’s where the NFL, in the wildly capricious hands of Roger Goodell, should have inserted a long, loud laugh track. The NFL’s “values?”

Would they include the steady employment of an Antonio Brown, Pacman Jones and dozens of other recidivist misanthropes? The Jaguars’ hiring of an Urban Meyer, who among other sordid things as a college coach, hired an assistant coach he knew to be a wife-beater?

Roger Goodell and Jon Gruden
Getty Images, USA Today Sports

Do the NFL’s values include the selection of Ray Lewis to sell NFL merchandise after he pleaded to an obstruction of justice charge and reached a settlement with the families of two homicide victims stabbed to death, Lewis’ blood-soaked suit having mysteriously disappeared?

Given the NFL’s values, Goodell should explain why he has allowed the Super Bowl to become a festival for rappers who promote the most negative, crude and degrading stereotypes of black Americans?

Why did he allow Jennifer Lopez to become a bump-and-grind pole dancer to the NFL’s largest audience? NFL values?

Why was another round of antisocial garbage ordered for this year’s Super Bowl “entertainment”? Why has the NFL, under Goodell, determined for all of us that if you don’t favor N-wording, women-bashing, gun-worshipping, crotch-grabbing, gutter-vulgar rappers the Super Bowl is not for you?

Jennifer Lopez performs at the Super Bowl halftime show in 2020.

Where is Goodell’s soulful 2009 testimony pointing to sports gambling as a curse on American family values now that he’s busy selling gambling operations designed to beat fans out of their money?

Drew Brees, en route to the Hall of Fame, is selling NFL-sanctioned sucker bets. Gambling problem? Good! You’re Goodell’s new favorite fan — until you tap out. Those are NFL values.

One image of Goodell I can’t shake it came during the 2019 Super Bowl in Atlanta.

In a transparent public relations con and the cheap exploitation of Martin Luther King’s legacy and martyrdom, Goodell, just before kickoff, was seen on tape somberly leaving Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King was ordained.

Very touching. King and his followers, after all, would march to the hate-filled, blooded calls of “Ni—rs!”

But at halftime, the NFL turned it over to vulgar, women-denigrating, boasting, no-upside, backwards-pointed N-wording rappers Travis Scott and Big Boi — all in conspicuous conflict with everything King lived and died for. Thus Goodell’s solemn appearance in that pregame MLK “skit” was nauseating.

And Goodell is still happy to officiate at the marriage of football to bottom-feeding rappers, though he still lacks the courage to read aloud their lyrics lest they further reveal him to be the pandering, first-class phony and PSL-hustler he is.

The NFL, rather than repudiate or even ignore such acts, will fly them in, put them up and pay them to advance the NFL’s “values” during its biggest annual game.

Yep, Gruden had to go. That a right-headed man could type such missives is as appalling in 2021 as it would have been at the time he hit “send” in 2012. He was in violation of NFL values.

Now bring on Snoop Dogg! That he has been charged with for everything from gun possession to producing pornography with under-aged girls, he’s far more reflective of the NFL’s cherished “values.”

Here’s a thought: Try saying nothing

Time to have the mute button refurbished. What a week! Highlights:

Penn State-Iowa on Fox: A PSU punt that went out of bounds at the 50 inspired Gus Jonson to report, “And Iowa will start from its own 50.” You don’t suppose he thinks …

Johnson’s say-anything analyst Joel Klatt, as PSU was about to go up, 14-3, early, said, “Iowa is not built to come back. Ranked 122nd in offense in college football. They need the lead. They’ve got to play that way.”

Love such expert analysis. Does that mean teams “built to come back” should avoid early leads? Anyway, Iowa came back to win, 23-20.

Gus Johnson and Joel Klatt

ABC/ESPN’s say-anything analyst Kirk Herbstreit, with Texas up 28-7 over Oklahoma, said OU “Must play with some urgency, while at the same time with awareness, not trying to force the issue.”

In other words, hurry up and be patient!

On BTN, say-anything Brandon Gaudin and analyst James Laurinaitis several times claimed that the key to Rutgers beating Michigan St. was for unspecified RU players to “step up.” Who knew?

In the first inning of Game 2 of Red Sox-Rays, Boston had first-and-third, one out, when say-anything John Smoltz advised the Red Sox to score, “even if they hit into a double play.”

Now Rob Manfred added the four-outs half-inning?

One play in Saturday’s Penn State-Iowa clash provided two examples of what we now generously call our “sports culture.”

First, Iowa CB Riley Moss was forced to leave the game — and will miss at least one more — after injuring his knee celebrating his own interception. Latest in a series.

As Fox next went for a “concerned fans” shot, it stopped on several wearing worried expressions and T-shirts carrying unprintably vulgar messages, evidence that they’re clever, edgy, desensitized and, for the moment, compassionate souls.

Wanna bet Costas hated reading this on-air promo?

Disappointed to hear Bob Costas, during an MLBN telecast of Astros-White Sox, read an ad for a sports gambling operation, especially having previously acknowledged that his childhood was afflicted by a parent with a destructive compulsive gambling addiction.

Hearing between the lines, Costas read it flatly and quickly, as if he were being held hostage. Still …

Bob Costas
Bob Costas
Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

With the Braves closer to the World Series, reader Bill Unger asks if Manfred will order their home games to be played in Colorado.

How is it that for $33.3 million per year the Nets were the only NBA team to not know that Kyrie Irving has a short expiration date?

Had a nightmare: Game 5 of the 1956 World Series. Don Larsen on the mound. Aaron Boone managing the Yankees. Chad Green told to warm up before Larsen’s third time through the lineup.


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