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Former Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman is no stranger to difficult conversations with people who aren’t the most open-minded.
He even reached out to athletes like DeSean Jackson and Meyers Leonard – both of whom have made publicly anti-Semitic comments – to create a constructive dialogue based on learning and mutual understanding.
But when it comes to former Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden, Edelman thinks there’s not much else to say.
The Patriots legend has denounced the recently uncovered emails Gruden sent to league leaders and other figures containing homophobic, racist and sexist language as he “Inside the NFL” on Paramount +.
“You know what? We’re trying to be inclusive in our league,” Edelman said. “We’ve tried it with all forms of background, sexuality, women – we now have women coaches, umpires. And when you have a leader and one of the biggest faces in our league comes out stuff like that, I mean, was I surprised? [that Gruden lost his job]? I wasn’t surprised because 70% of our team, our guys, are black men. And when you have your head coach, the guy who’s supposed to lead by example – and I’m not a cancellation guy. I’m not a cancellation culture guy. I’m all about the conversation. But if it keeps coming out that there are more and more of it, I think that’s just not acceptable.
Gruden angered the sports community when an investigation into the Washington football team revealed a correspondence between the coach and then Washington President Allen while Gruden was an ESPN employee .
In those emails, Gruden, among others, used a racist trope to describe NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, denounced the growing prevalence of female NFL umpires, and used homophobic language to describe Smith, the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL.
Although the first emails focusing on the manager’s comments against Goodell and Smith are from 2011, other leaked emails containing graphic content and language are believed to have been until 2018, when Gruden was hired. by the Raiders for a 10-year, $ 100 million contract. the team.
Edelman explained that his goal in choosing to engage in conversations with Jackson and Leonard after their offensive comments was to help educate them.
“I didn’t think they understood that what they were saying would have an impact and hurt as many people as it did,” he said. “It was to let people know, hey, I don’t know everything about you, you don’t know everything about me. And it might hurt my feelings, it might hurt your feelings – why don’t we have a conversation so we can all grow up? “
On the flip side, the receiver said, there is no reason to believe that Gruden had no idea why his comments would hurt others.
“I don’t know Jon Gruden personally, I’ve never met him,” admitted Edelman. “But it’s a different situation here to think what he said, he didn’t know what he was saying would offend someone.”
Edelman joins several current NFL players, like Aaron Rodgers, and former players, like Patriots fan favorite Willie McGinest, in condemning Gruden’s comments.
“I’m not going to sit here and act naive like it doesn’t just exist in locker rooms or private boardrooms or boardrooms, private clubs… whatever it is. It exists, ”McGinest said on NFL Network. “What happened here is that it was exposed. It came out.
“When you come from where I’m from… you’re used to it. And sometimes you get immune to it, which doesn’t mean it’s fair. It just means that you are not surprised by it. I was not shocked. I was not surprised. I know it exists.
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