Ron Cook: Steelers fortunate to have high-character leader in Mike Tomlin

Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on

Published in Football

PITTSBURGH — It's no wonder the Steelers are thrilled to have Mike Tomlin locked up as their coach through at least the 2024 season. They love his consistency and his stability. They love the way he leads and represents the team. They love that he is, by all accounts, a decent human being.

Tomlin's value seems even greater after the events of the past few days with Jon Gruden and Urban Meyer.

Gruden resigned as Las Vegas Raiders coach Monday night after a series of his offensive emails became public. His racist, anti-gay, anti-women rants made it clear beyond reasonable doubt that he is a real creep.

Meyer should resign or be fired as Jacksonville Jaguars coach. That became clear after the way he handled video that showed him in a compromised situation at a bar with a woman who was not his wife. Just know that his many critics referred to him as "Urban Liar" when he was coach at Ohio State and Florida. He, too, is a creep.

Gruden had to resign or he would have been fired. It's clear the NFL leaked his emails, which were sent between 2010-18 when he worked as an ESPN "Monday Night Football" analyst and discovered during the league's ongoing investigation into workplace misconduct within the Washington Football Team. Many were sent to Washington president/general manager Bruce Allen, a former colleague with the Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Gruden used a racist trope to describe NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith. He criticized the league's hiring of women as referees and its drafting of gay players, whom he referred to as "queers." He routinely referred to Roger Goodell by using a homophobic slur and criticized him for putting too much emphasis on player safety.


The list of Gruden's repulsive emails went on and on. There can be no conclusion other than that he is a hateful person.

Smith responded to Gruden's email from 2011 that "Dumboriss Smith has lips the size of michelin tires."

"The email from Jon Gruden — and some of the reaction to it — confirms that the fight against racism, racist tropes and intolerance is not over," Smith tweeted this week. "This is not an email as much as it is about a pervasive belief by some that people who look like me can be treated as less ...

"Football has to be better."


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