Neal: Troubling Gruden case yet another sign of NFL's broken power structure
3 min read
The NFL's awful hiring history didn't lead to Jon Gruden's behavior, but anyone familiar with the league's homogeneousupper crust shouldn't be surprised views like his are shared within it.
As much as the NFL loves to present itself as diverse, inclusive, proactive and forward-thinking, the troubling case of Jon Gruden shows us — once again — that the league is a long way from achieving any of that. A major reason why the NFL can't get there: so many of the bosses don't believe in the benefits of having a diverse set of leaders. The nearly all-white supermajority of NFL owners — there are two people of color who have significant ownership interests across the 32 teams — continues to hire white decision-makers most of the time. In the NFL, 75% of players are people of color. Head coaches? Only 6.4% people of color – five of 32. Senior administrative positions on those teams? Down to 18% in 2020. These figures are from the 2020 TIDES Racial and Gender Report Card and you can see all the Fs and Ds and C-minus grades there for the NFL's hiring practices. If the league wants to eradicate Neanderthal thinking like Gruden's, start at the top. The more people of color and women in power within the NFL hierarchy, the more the good ol' boy network is put on notice. Add diverse talent, NFL owners, if you truly want to create the type of progressive culture you are seeking. Gruden felt comfortable enough on an e-mail string that included former Washington executive — and old friend — Bruce Allen that he was able to reveal his true character. From 2011 to 2018, while he was an ESPN analyst, Gruden made offensive remarks about Black people, gay people,…