Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has never been one to bite his tongue.
It was more of the same this week.
Less than 24 hours after Jon Gruden stepped down as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders over his racist, homophobic and misogynist leaked e-mails, Rodgers offered a strong message to the now-former head coach.
That message: “Those opinions don’t have a place in the game.”
“I know that there’s opinions similar to that, but I feel they’re few and far between,” Rodgers said Tuesday on the Pat McAfee Show. “The player and the coach of today is a more empathetic, advanced, progressive, loving, connected type of person. I’m proud of the kind of locker room we have.”
Rodgers then took it one step further.
“We need to allow people to grow and change, but those opinions don’t have a place in the game,” he added.
Rodgers also pointed out that he was pleasantly surprised by how quickly all parties involved moved in this situation.
“It was surprising to see that the thing went so quickly, but I think that was probably the best decision for all parties involved,” he said. “Hopefully we can all as a league learn and grow from this. Hopefully it puts people on notice who have some of those same opinions. Like, ‘Hey man, it’s time to grow and evolve and change and connect. That (expletive) doesn’t fly.’”
Above all else, Rodgers stressed that Gruden’s views on the world don’t represent the vast majority of the NFL.
“I feel like in the locker room it’s a close-knit group of guys,” Rodgers said. “We don’t treat people differently based on the way that they talk, where they’re from, what they’re into, what they look like. I’m proud of that.”
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Gruden’s fall from grace had implications beyond just his own personal fortunes. His son, Deuce, who served as the Raiders’ assistant strength and conditioning coach, also fell under the microscope.
This will be an interesting situation to watch going forward. If the NFL continues digging into what prominent NFL coaches, owners and the like have been saying in their private e-mails over the last decade – Gruden may not be the final domino to drop.