TAMPA, Fla — The New York Times reports a number of executives with ties to Tampa Bay were copied on Jon Gruden's emails including the co-founder of Hooters, an executive from Tampa’s Outback Bowl and a founder of PDQ restaurants, all who knew Gruden from his time in Tampa Bay.
“There is definitely a culture that was allowing this to go on,” said diversity and inclusion consultant Jylle Joyner.
“Even though it was outside of an organization, this culture of friends or people that were in this group, allowed it to go on,” Joyner said.
Joyner says while it’s unclear what, if any responses those who received the emails gave, even remaining silent can be problematic.
“If people did not respond then they were just showing compliance,” said Joyner. “Silence is compliance and is saying that it’s OK.”
And by allowing the behavior to continue, she says the culture never improves. “People need not be afraid to speak up.”
Now, some are calling on the release of the responses to Gruden’s emails to shine a spotlight on others who may have been complicit.
“I think that the NFL needs more transparency,” said broadcaster Akbar Gbaja-Biamila, who spent four seasons in the NFL.
“650,000 emails that were gone through this whole investigative process. What was said? Who was it forwarded to? What were the replies and some of these emails?” Gbaja-Biamila said.
"Gruden had a group of enablers,” said sports columnist Bill Rhoden. “We’ve all been around these types of people that are telling racist jokes and talk about women. A lot of these people are executives and probably hold a high position. They are the ones that determine who gets hired who gets promoted. Don’t think for a minute Gruden is the only person who thinks like that. I want to find out who were his enablers.”
10 Tampa Bay reached out to the executives who reportedly were on Gruden's email list, but have not heard back.