If you’re looking for hypocrites of the week, may I present the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Bucs were only too happy to issue a statement that they’ll be removing Jon Gruden from their Ring Of Honor. Which on the surface, fine, good, sure. Gruden certainly proved himself to be someone not worth celebrating anywhere.
Except it’s hard not to see this as easy points-scoring and all theatrical caring, because this is the Bucs. Antonio Brown is on the roster, which certainly makes one look awkwardly at the Bucs’ championing of gender equality. Same goes for Warren Sapp, who was arrested for domestic battery, charges later dropped, and another assault as well as soliciting a prostitute. The latter arrest cost him his job at the NFL Network. Yet, he remains in the Ring of Honor. Tony Dungy is up there, too, which bends Tampa’s reach for equality given Dungy’s homophobic past, with a sprinkling of his defense of Gruden on Sunday night.
But neither of those are currently in the headlines, and Gruden isn’t on the payroll. It costs the Buccaneers nothing to strip his name off the stadium, which is what makes it an empty gesture. Nothing risked.
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This is the kind of bullshit teams pull in order to balance out the distasteful things they pull later, like signing Brown. There are no “core values” in Tampa, just like anywhere else, other than winning games. This is some gesture they can make on the fringes, barely. It’s placating the MAGA chud section of the fanbase that would actually get upset when things like this happen to their favorite coach, because it allows them to say, “Y’see snowflake? They stripped Gruden’s name! Now leave me alone with your caring.” It’s looking like the team is throwing a bone to a majority of its fans while what it’s really doing is trying to do something that the assholes will nod their head and accept as the price of doing business so they don’t have to lose anything real. It’s trying to sit on both chairs.