Rich Bisaccia has been named as the Raiders’ interim head coach after Jon Gruden was forced to retire in disgrace following the release of emails from 2011 in which he used racist, homophobic, and sexist language repeatedly.
There have been a number of reactions to the news, including some who think it’s strange that the only thing that came out of the inquiry into 650,000 emails in the Washington Football Team investigation was the termination of a coach in Las Vegas. Many in the football world, particularly other white males in positions of power, have been hesitant to say anything about Gruden’s emails and what they mean for football culture in general.
When asked for his thoughts on the situation, Chargers coach Brandon Staley gave a refreshingly open and thoughtful response, focusing on the various minority groups that were the subject of those emails and how it is his job, and every coach’s job, to earn the trust of those individuals by showing empathy and creating a welcoming environment.
It’s not the kind of response you’d expect from a football coach, who would rather make a quick statement about how the things said were reprehensible and then say they want to focus on his squad. Staley, on the other hand, used the situation to reflect on his responsibilities as a coach and a leader, recognizing that it’s things like Gruden’s emails that, rightfully, lead to a longer road to building trust and buy-in from players and staff members from the groups Gruden heinously offended, who have all-too-often found this kind of hatred toward them from those in power, even if only uttered behind closed doors.