Did they deserve that much?

With the recent firing of Raiders head coach Jon Gruden, I look back at other coaches and players who received more punishment than they should’ve.


Gruden being inducted to the Buccaneers Ring of Honor as a coach (one of then-12).

Maddox Greenberg, Staff Writer

Similar to politics, once you sign to a sports team or sports organization as either a player or coach, you are constantly being “monitored” around the clock by the media and your team.  And over the years, players and coaches have been fired for something they did (whether righteous or not) and got a little bit more extra than they should’ve.  Here is my list of players, coaches, and player-coaches who did and didn’t deserve what they’ve gotten.


MLB: Pete Rose being out of the Baseball Hall of Fame for gambling

My dad is a big Philly fan and was since he was a kid.  So much so, he and my mom named me after Phillies legend Garry Maddox.  Pete Rose was one of my dad’s favorite baseball players to watch, and who could blame him?  Rose all-time with the Cincinnati Reds (1963-1978; 1984; 1985-1986), Philadelphia Phillies (1979-1983), and Montreal Expos (1984) had 4,256 career hits, 3,215 career singles, 3,562 career games played, 14,053 career at-bats, and 15,890 career plate appearances.  He was a 17-time All-Star, a 3-time World Series champion (including on the Phillies 1980 Championship team with Garry Maddox), 1973 NL MVP, 1975 World Series MVP, 1963 NL Rookie of the Year, 2-time Gold Glove Award winner, 1981 Silver Slugger Award winner, 1976 Roberto Clemente Award winner, 3-time NL batting champion, Reds Hall of Famer and on the MLB All-Century Team.  This guy was ready to be in the MLB Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.  But that all changed when it was documented that when he was the Reds’ manager, he got caught gambling on MLB games.  While he denied it, he was put on the ineligible list.  He wasn’t reinstated and, per the 1991 Hall of Fame committee voting not to induct anyone who was put on the ineligible list permanently, wasn’t allowed into the MLB Hall of Fame, along with Roberto Alomar, who was banned for sexual misconduct towards a female Blue Jays staffer.  This player-turned-coach had such an incredible career as a player, yet he was banned for something he did as a coach!  In the Hall of Fame, regardless of sport, you can be inducted more than once if you had a great career as a player and coach (or any other combinations).  So, why keep the guy out for something he did as a coach?!  Why not just induct him as a player?  He already has a phenomenal resume as a player.  I think Pete Rose got robbed (like Klay).


NFL: Jon Gruden released from Bucs Ring of Honor

Jon Gruden was part of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 2002 Super Bowl team when they won against Gruden’s formerly coached team, the-then Oakland Raiders.  Gruden, or as dubbed by sports fans around the NFL, “Chucky.” was inducted into the Bucs Ring of Honor in 2017.  But after the recent Washington Football Team investigation about their reported history of workplace misconduct under former president Bruce Allen, emails surfaced showing Gruden between 2011 (after he left the Bucs) to 2018 (before joining the Raiders as head coach up to 2021) using homophobic, racist, and sexist words.  Emails also emerged of Gruden and Allen (among others) exchanging photos of women wearing only bikini bottoms.  And one was of two former Washington cheerleaders.  He condemned the name-change of the then-Redskins name (Redskins is a racist slur towards Native Americans) by Congress.  He made fun of Jeff Fisher, former coach of the-then St. Louis Rams, for drafting Michael Sam, who announced he was gay before the 2014 Draft (I find this ironic since a few months ago Carl Nassib of the Raiders was the first openly-gay active player after he came out before the season started).  Gruden even attacked Bryan Glazer (owner of the Bucs) when saying that Bryan should perform oral sex on Gruden.  Allen, who Gruden sent the email to, replied that Glazer would “take you up on that offer.”  Finally, Gruden said that DeMaurice Smith, who is black, had “lips the size of michellin tires.”  At first, I thought Gruden really didn’t deserve so much scrutiny and to be taken off of the Bucs Ring of Honor was too much.  But now, I do.  But what gets me even more mad is that these all emerged in an investigation that had nothing to do with Gruden, nor was he involved in.  I understand now why the Bucs took him off the Ring of Honor.  But, to counter, these did come after his time with the Bucs and the remark to the Glazers family was a long time ago.  Sure, what he did was bad, but he left a good impact on the Bucs franchise in winning their first Super Bowl.


NFL: Colin Kaepernick’s political movement

A few years ago in 2016, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick faced scrutiny and hatred among fans and broadcasters after he was seen kneeling during the national anthem.  Colin was performing his first amendment rights in speaking out against police brutality against people of color.  Fans didn’t like that from Kap.  They didn’t like how he and others were kneeling.  Because of this, Colin became a free agent.  No teams wanted Colin, which analysts and observers connected with political views.  Now, five years later, no team has signed Colin or dared him to join a practice squad.  He scheduled recently a workout session in front of all 32 teams.  However, Colin didn’t like how it wasn’t public and the waiver the NFL wanted him to sign.  So, he moved his workout to an Atlanta-based high school with scouts from seven teams.  This man has done so much for his community and has been a big activist.  I don’t necessarily think he is XFL material since he, in my opinion, has too big of an ego.  He’s more NFL caliber when he is ready and willing to be.  He wanted to get paid more than the typical XFL quarterback (Colin wanted $20 million, the typical XFL QB got $250k).  He wasn’t even the best quarterback in the NFL, with 72 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in all of his six years in the NFL, 12,271 passing yards, a completion percentage of 59.8, a passer rating of 88.9, 2,300 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns.  He holds the NFL record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in a single game (181 yards) and rushing yards by a quarterback in a single postseason (264 yards).  But I think he should get one last chance by the NFL, or at least some compensation.  The NFL is in a stage where it is praising and noticing Colin’s activism and are standing to end racism in America and the world.  And I think Colin not getting chosen by a team or in the NFL, or too even be mentioned, is too much.  Colin didn’t deserve this.




NBA: Kyrie Irving’s decision against vaccines

Most recently, Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets chose not to take the mandatory vaccine against Covid to participate in the NBA.  Not to make this political, but I totally oppose this man.  Kyrie, because of all other states and New York’s guidelines, won’t participate this year until he gets vaccinated.  He will lose millions of dollars.  Sure, he is, like Kap, using his first amendment.  But he is not only hurting himself but his teammates.  His is choosing not to be a team player, and I do think this man deserves the punishment he gets.  And this wasn’t the first time he wasn’t a team player.  He has been out for minor injuries and missed the last few games of the Eastern Conference Semifinals because of a sprained ankle, instead of fighting through it to help his team.  Tom Brady did it last season.  Charlie Morton of the World Series champs Braves did that.  Kobe did that.  MJ did that during the “flu game.”  And, while he said he will be taking this time off to do research on the vaccines, he is spotted playing flag football.  Seems like the NBA did the right thing in punishing Kyrie, a man who seems to not care about basketball.


What do you think? Do you think these players/coaches deserved what they got (and possibly more)? Can you think of any other players/coaches who didn’t deserve their punishment (or the extra punishment towards them)?