Bits and pieces of the 650,000 e-mails collected as part of an investigation into a toxic workplace environment for the Washington Football Team continue to surface, days after Jon Gruden was forced to resign as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders following the emergence of racist, homophobic and misogynistic messages he sent to then-WFT executive Bruce Allen were leaked.
One of those e-mails -- obtained by Henry Bushnell and Jason Owens of Yahoo! Sports -- gives you an idea of how much disdain some powerful people in and around the sport had for former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick as he peacefully protested during the national anthem during the 2016 season to protest racial injustices in the United States.
In an exchange with Allen, and unnamed ESPN personality refers to Kaepernick as “this f**k” and suggests that San Francisco should release him, a message that Allen certainly didn’t push back against:
"They suspend people for taking amino acids they should cut this f**k," the "Redacted - ESPN Personality" wrote.
Allen responded, in part: "I've expressed my OUTRAGE."
The "ESPN Personality" then wrote back: "Good for you."
It should be noted that Gruden worked for ESPN from May of 2009 until returning to the Raiders in January of 2018.
At the time, Allen was president of a team whose nickname was seen by many as a racial slur. We’ve also since learned -- thanks to tremendous reporting from The Washington Post -- about a predatory culture inside Washington’s team building at the time, one that essentially made it impossible to be a female employee of the team without being harassed, often in a sexual nature. None of this seemed to occur to Allen as he raged back and fourth about Kaepernick’s peaceful protest.
Allen -- seemingly because of a lack of team success under his leadership -- was fired in December of 2019. The 65-year-old hasn’t worked in the NFL since.
The NFL fined Washington $10 million this past July after they concluded an investigation that found that “the culture of the club was very toxic and fell far short of the NFL’s values.” Washington’s owner, Daniel Synder, continues to “focus on the stadium and other matters,” but his wife Tanya has since, at least on a temporary basis, “taken over day-to-day operations.” It’s not known what findings led to this arrangement, and if the often-maligned owner of the Washington Football Team will eventually return to handling day-to-day matters.
Perhaps on purpose, the NFL didn’t have Beth Wilkinson create a written report of her findings in the investigation, so we don’t know what exactly was found that led them to determining that the culture in Washington was rotten. In recent days, there have been multiple calls for the NFL to release the full results of the investigation, including all 650,000 emails.