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Naw, don’t start in with the “Cancel Culture” drivel. This is about accountability, not “political correctness” or whatever vacuous and dismissive label you want to use to justify your own prejudices.

Jon Gruden is in trouble. And he ought to be.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that in a 2011 email, Gruden, while working as an analyst on Monday Night Football, said that NFL Players Association Director DeMaurice Smith, who is Black, had “lips the size of michellin tires.”

  1. This is not “fake news” or a “hoax,” or a “witch hunt,” and has not one thing to do with “mainstream media.”  The Wall Street Journal has examined the email and the NFL confirms its existence and that the WSJ reporting is accurate.
  2. That’s a racist remark. Period. Don’t even think about arguing otherwise.

Not that Gruden isn’t trying. He’s already broken out the, “There’s not a racist bone in my body,” yawner.

Gruden again, making it worse. “I never had a racial thought when I used it. I’m embarrassed by what’s out there. I certainly never meant for it to sound that bad.”

It sounded every bit that bad, Chuckie.  Certainly, your bosses think so.

Raiders owner Mark Davis (who signed Gruden to a ten-year, $100 million contract). “This is not what the Raiders stand for.” And it isn’t. The Raiders, for all their roguish quirks, have historically been the most racially progressive team in the NFL.

Then there’s this, from NFL Spokesman Brian McCarthy. “The email from Jon Gruden denigrating DeMaurice Smith is appalling, abhorrent and wholly contrary to NFL values. We condemn the statement and regret any harm that its publication may inflict on Mr. Smith or anyone else.”

The NFL has been wonderfully inclusive in its current marketing campaign. Gruden’s disgusting statement could not possibly be more at odds with that stance.

Chuckie’s gonna get busted, both because it’s the right thing to do and because the league will get lit up if it doesn’t smack him.

Fired? I doubt it. And frankly I hope not. I believe in second chances, and sometimes third chances.  But there will likely be a lengthy suspension.

First, Gruden needs to own this without asterisks.

As for DeMaurice Smith, classy, dignified, but firm and unequivocal, as always. “This is a thick-skin job for someone with dark skin.” Followed by, “Racism like this comes from the fact that I’m at the same table as they are and they don’t think somebody who looks like me belongs. I’m very sorry my family has to see something like this but I would rather they know. I will not let it define me.”

Smith has been under intense fire from many players because of his handling of the new collective bargaining agreement in the NFL. But last night he was retained as NFLPA President by a 2/3 vote of the league’s 32 team player representatives. I’m frankly surprised. But pleasantly so.

NFL Notes

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson will need surgery on a ruptured tendon in his right middle finger. He’ll miss 4-8 weeks. The Seahawks have already lost three games and are in a hole in the NFC West. But don’t go to sleep on Geno Smith. He will play well, just as he did Thursday night against the Rams when he had to relieve the injured Wilson in the third quarter.

Rookie Trey Lance gets his first start Sunday in place of Jimmy G., who’s out with a calf injury. Lance’s maiden voyage will be against the 4-0 Cardinals. Good luck with that, young man.

Teddy will go for the Broncos Sunday vs. the Steelers if he clears concussion protocol. Right now he’s looking good.

Between injuries and COVID, the Patriots will be without four of their five starting offensive lineman Sunday against the Texans. That’s bad news for everybody except the Texans, who may actually have a chance.

Saturday’s Children—Paul’s Picks

Texas 31 Oklahoma 27

Ole Miss 28 Arkansas 24

Baylor 24 West Virginia 23

Georgia 27 Auburn 17

Iowa 28 Penn State 24

Texas Tech 38 TCU 31

UTSA 27 Western Kentucky 24 (This one gets way hairier than you might think.)

Nebraska 24 Michigan 21

Virginia Tech 28 Notre Dame 21

LSU 31 Kentucky 24

Alabama 49 Texas A&M 21

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Paul's Bio

I clearly have the attention span of your median fruit fly.Look! Airplane!

Sorry. I’m back.

It’s both a curse and a blessing. I’ve never bought this stuff about, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” But I do think that a wide range of life experiences helps us grow as people, and helps us better relate to other people. I’ve been fortunate. And I am beyond grateful.

I show up on time. I go like hell. I’m a good listener. I hold myself accountable. I own my mistakes. And I have a natural and an insatiable curiosity. I’m never afraid to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t. But then I try to find out.

The flip side is I’m a lousy ballroom dancer and my clothes sometimes fit me funny.

Stuff matters to me. I care. But while I take that stuff seriously, I try hard to never take myself seriously. As a result, I have sometimes been told, “Paul, it’s hard to tell when you’re serious and when you’re just having some fun. Which is it? Serious or fun?”

My answer is “yes.” But I think that is a legitimate criticism. I promise I’m going to work on that.

This has been the quickest and strangest half-century I’ve ever experienced. During that period, I’ve been afforded amazing opportunities in news and sports journalism across all platforms. I have taught wonderful students at the high school and collegiate level. Always, I learned more from them than they did from me. I’ve been a high school administrator. I spent ten seasons as a high school varsity football coach. I’ve been an advertising executive. I’ve hosted nationally syndicated television entertainment shows. In maybe the biggest honor I ever received, I was selected by NASA to be “Chet The Astronaut” for the “Land The Shuttle” simulator at Space Center Houston. (All I can say there, is “Do as I say, not as I do.” I put that thing in the Everglades more often than not.) Most recently, I just wrapped up a decade as a television news director, during which time our teams distinguished themselves in holding the powerful accountable, achieving both critical and ratings success.

What does all that mean? It means I am profoundly grateful. It also means I’m ready for “next.” So here we are. Radically Rational. It’s an idea I woke up with in 2017. I scribbled “Radically Rational” on a piece of notebook paper and used a magnet to stick it on our refrigerator. I saw it every day, and it just would not leave me alone.

I am second in charge at Radically Rational, LLC. My wife, Jo (also known as BB), is the president. Clearly, I have failed in my attempt to sleep my way to the top of this organization.

I hope you will learn that I’m loyal as a Labrador. But I will admit that this doggie can bite every now and then. My promise to you? I will show up on time. I will go like hell. I will listen to you earnestly and attentively. I will hold myself accountable. I will never be the least bit hesitant to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t.

But then I’ll try to find out. Let’s do it.