NFL

Ryan O’Callaghan, an openly gay ex-NFLer, comments on Jon Gruden

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JULY 11: NFL player Ryan O'Callaghan attends The Players' Tribune Hosts Players' Night Out 2017 at The Beverly Hills Hotel on July 11, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images for The Players' Tribune )
Leon Bennett/Getty Images for The Players' Tribune

As more news comes out from the situation surrounding Jon Gruden, some have shared their thoughts on his conduct. One such person includes former NFL player Ryan O’Callaghan. He, like most others, took offense to the nature of Gruden’s words in the emails.

“It doesn’t matter when he said the f-word or used (homophobic) slurs, it’s never OK. My hope is that he’s educated himself since then to know better. But part of it isn’t surprising. I used to hear ‘no homo’ type comments in the NFL and slurs in locker rooms growing up. If we dug through other (coaches’) trash, it’d be interesting to see what we’d find.” 

Ryan O’Callaghan

O’Callaghan added that he’d like to hear more from Gruden soon to see if he has learned and grown from the derogatory comments he made. As of Monday night, Jon Gruden has stepped down from his post as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders.

LGBTQ Inclusion In the Sports World

The emails discovered from Jon Gruden involving multiple insulting statements ranged between 2011 and 2018. His language entailed homophobia, misogyny, and racism. In response, Ryan O’Callaghan’s opening statement poses a question as to who else, if anyone, may have used such words.

Though times have changed, the inclusion of the LGBTQ community in sports has come about sparingly. O’Callaghan shared that he would hear slurs in the locker rooms he used to be in. He later stated that when you hear things along the lines of what Gruden said, it makes you look at someone differently and question whether you, as a gay person, are safe in such an environment.

Ironically, only one openly gay player plays in the NFL today: Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib, who came out earlier this year. Many commended him for his bravery, and to our knowledge, his season has gone without a hitch. Even so, creating a safer, more positive workplace for LGBTQ athletes and staffers across the NFL and Sports, in general, will require more from those involved. GLAAD’s Chief Communications Officer, Rich Ferraro, said as much in a statement addressing Jon Gruden’s departure from Vegas.

“Even as the first out gay player is competing on the Raiders and receiving widespread support from fans and teammates, accountability is necessary to ensure that all athletes can compete without discrimination and harassment”

Rich Ferarro

The situation with Jon Gruden should go a long way in resetting the standard in circles throughout the league. With time, we can only hope that change will come and people will grow more aware of those around them, creating a safer environment in the process.

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