Jon Gruden’s Departure Means More Trouble for the Raiders

It is an old saying full of wisdom ie: “Loose Lips Sink Ships!” Now Jon Gruden, the former coach of  NFL Football’s, Los Vegas Raiders, most likely gets the irony of how that saying also applies to him!

There’s a thing about those kinds of sayings. They have obvious wisdom and we can see the results for others when they disregard them, but then turn around and miss it in ourselves.

One would think that after all the examples of wayward emails being used for evidence of transgressions, and all the warnings given by parents and teachers and other advisors to NOT hit that SEND button unless you want the WHOLE world to see that email, that a person of Mr.(not coach anymore) Gruden’s stature would have been more circumspect than to share his racist underbelly so openly!

It is, however, a very good example of a “Principle” explained in the book, ebook & audio-book titled, What Goes Around Comes Around – A Guide To How Life REALLY Works.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/12/sports/football/jon-gruden-raiders.html?smid=em-share

Jon Gruden’s Departure Means More Trouble for the Raiders

The Raiders moved to a new, $2 billion stadium in Las Vegas last year, hoping to build a football dynasty. Things haven’t gone as they’d hoped.

 

The Raiders’ training facility and headquarters outside Las Vegas.
Credit…Bridget Bennett for The New York Times

On the lower level of Allegiant Stadium on Sunday, Raiders running back Josh Jacobs defended his team, which had just lost sloppily, 20-9, to the Chicago Bears only two days after reports that Coach Jon Gruden used a racist stereotype in reference to DeMaurice Smith, a Black man and the executive director of the N.F.L. Players Association.

“No, I don’t think it had anything to do with that,” Jacobs said as he looked down at a microphone.

Anthony Herrera, an extraordinarily dedicated Raiders fan, disagrees. The performance — receivers dropping passes, offensive linemen missing blocks, quarterback Derek Carr overthrowing open targets — was not what he expected from the team he uprooted his life for. Last summer, as the Raiders relocated to Las Vegas, Herrera and his fiancée moved from Inglewood, Calif., to a Las Vegas townhome solely to be closer to the Raiders. Herrera, 43, a truck driver, didn’t like what he saw from the stands.

“In my heart, I knew something was wrong,” Herrera said.

The Raiders hoped for a new start when they departed Oakland, Calif., for a new stadium in Las Vegas before the start of the 2020 season. But they ended up playing their first season in front of empty seats because of the pandemic, then suddenly lost their popular team president and some top executives. Along the way, Mark Davis, the team’s owner, had to apologize for a tone-deaf tweet as he and the team were trying to build a fan base in their new city.

The Raiders’ troubles deepened Monday, when Gruden resigned hours after The New York Times detailed additional emails in which he made homophobic and misogynistic remarks. Gruden, whose son Deuce is still listed as a strength and conditioning coach on the team’s website, has been replaced in the interim by Rich Bisaccia, the special teams coach. How Davis handles the situation from here will carry broad ramifications not only for the team and its relationship with the city, but for the entire N.F.L.

The team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“The Raiders have an opportunity to take the lead and show true sincerity and understanding of how they’re going to go about really changing the minds of those who have been hurt,” said Nancy Lough, a professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas specializing in sports marketing and gender equity.

Gruden resigned shortly after the Times reported on his offensive emails, which were uncovered as part of an N.F.L. investigation into workplace misconduct at the Washington Football Team. The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday about Gruden’s 2011 emails regarding Smith, which included a racist remark about his appearance.

Gruden sent the emails to Bruce Allen, the former president of the Washington club, while he was an analyst for ESPN. The email exchanges spanned seven years and ended in early 2018, when Gruden signed a 10-year, $100 million contract to coach the Raiders franchise. He leaves his second stint as the Raiders’ coach after posting a 22-31 record, having never completed a winning season or made the playoffs.

Gruden won a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the 2002 season and was respected in league circles for his offensive mind-set. His hiring was meant to galvanize the Raiders’ fan base, which had not experienced a championship since the 1983 season. He arrived at a transitional period for the organization as it prepared to move for the third time in its history.

N.F.L. owners in 2017 approved the Oakland Raiders’ plan to relocate to Las Vegas after the team’s failed attempt to return to Los Angeles, where the Raiders played from 1982 to 1995. Many fans embraced the move to Las Vegas, as they felt the city suited the team’s reputation as the bad boys of the N.F.L. Gruden coached the Raiders for two seasons in a stadium they shared with Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics while Davis spearheaded the construction of Allegiant Stadium, a $2-billion jet-black venue. But players competed without audiences when the building opened in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, causing a major loss of revenue.

The distractions didn’t stop even as the pandemic eased. In April, after a jury convicted Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer, of murdering George Floyd, the Raiders’ official Twitter account posted a graphic that read “I Can Breathe.” Chauvin, who is white, knelt on the neck of Floyd, a Black man, for over nine minutes, and Floyd’s cries of “I Can’t Breathe” ignited months of protests and a racial reckoning across the country. Davis took responsibility for the post, which he said he “meant no disrespect.” Still, it received widespread criticism and has not been deleted.

Three months later, Marc Badain, the longtime popular president of the Raiders who started as an intern in 1991, abruptly resigned, saying only that he wanted to “focus on my family and look ahead to new pursuits.” The team’s chief financial officer and comptroller had also recently departed.

Addressing the Gruden episode falls to Davis, the son of the former team owner Al Davis, who made a series of influential decisions during his tenure and died in 2011. Al Davis hired Amy Trask, the first female chief executive in the N.F.L., in 1997. Tom Flores, who is Mexican American, was the first Latino coach in the N.F.L. to win a Super Bowl, winning two with the Raiders, in the 1980 and 1983 seasons. The team also drafted Eldridge Dickey, the first Black quarterback taken in the first round, in 1968, when the Raiders played in the A.F.L. In June, Mark Davis was supportive when Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib became the first openly gay N.F.L. player on an active roster.

A Raiders flag blowing in the wind outside Allegiant Stadium.
Credit…Bridget Bennett for The New York Times

Trask, who is now an N.F.L. analyst for CBS, said in an interview that it “struck her” that the Raiders had access to the emails as part of the N.F.L.’s investigation since last week, but did not publicly discipline Gruden.

“Would action have been taken if those emails had not been made public? We don’t know the answer to that,” Trask said.

Trask declined to comment on Mark Davis’ leadership style, saying she worked more closely with his father than with him. He has become a fixture in Las Vegas, though, and regularly sits courtside for games of the W.N.B.A.’s Las Vegas Aces, the team he purchased in January. Last year, he initiated a partnership with U.N.L.V. to create the Al Davis-Eddie Robinson Leadership Academy, a program to develop minority candidates for head coach and general manager jobs. Lough, the U.N.L.V. professor, works with Davis occasionally on the program. She said Davis can display his leadership qualities with his hire for the next head coach.

“I think there will be a great deal of insight into how committed the organization is to all of its fan base and those who have been marginalized,” Lough said. “Anyone that is hired going forward, if they have a history of any racially insensitive comments or misogynistic or homophobic behavior or comments, that will speak volumes to the intentions the Raiders have.”

Like many teams in 2021, the Raiders worked with The Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) to foster conversation and develop programs about race relations within the club. Andrew Mac Intosh, the chief program officer for RISE, said the players were engaged and interested, and he will watch how the Raiders handle the Gruden situation.

“All of us in society, we have an opportunity to be better, and this is an opportunity,” he said. “Here a place to ask, ‘Have I been as inclusive as I can be in my own sphere of influence?’ That’s my hope not just for that organization but for all of us.”

The brief history of the Raiders in Las Vegas has been choppy, but Herrera said he does not regret his decision to follow them there. Gruden’s resignation allows the team to improve from top to bottom, he said.

“In order for us to grow and be better, we need some new brains,” Herrera said. “We need some new thoughts. Our office is going to have to change.”

 


Kirkus Reviews, the gold-standard for independent & accurate reviews, has this to say about

What Goes Around Comes Around:

A stable, positive, non preachy, objective voice makes the book stand apart from others in the genre. A successful guide that uses anecdotes to reveal powerful truths about life.

~ Kirkus Reviews

“The author gives readers not just points or principles to ponder, but real human experiences that demonstrate them!
Kirkus Reviews

“I’ve read a number of books that focus on sharing a similar message, including “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne, “The Answer” by John Assaraf & Murray Smith, “The Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield, “Think and Grow Rich,” by Napoleon Hill, and I must say that I find Rob’s to be my favorite. – Sheryl Woodhouse, founder of Livelihood Matters LLC

18 Former N.B.A. Players Are Charged in $4 Million Insurance Fraud Scheme

18 Former N.B.A. Players Are Charged in $4 Million Insurance Fraud Scheme

It is an old saying full of wisdom ie: “Loose Lips Sink Ships!” Now Jon Gruden, the former coach of  NFL Football’s, Los Vegas Raiders, most likely gets the irony of how that saying also applies to him!

There’s a thing about those kinds of sayings. They have obvious wisdom and we can see the results for others when they disregard them, but then turn around and miss it in ourselves.
One would think that after all the examples of wayward emails being used for evidence of transgressions, and all the warnings given by parents and teachers and other advisors to NOT hit that SEND button unless you want the WHOLE world to see that email, that a person of Mr.(not coach anymore) Gruden’s stature would have been more circumspect than to share his racist underbelly so openly!
It is, however, a very good example of a “Principle” explained in the book, ebook & audio-book titled, What Goes Around Comes Around – A Guide To How Life REALLY Works.

Colombo Family Crime Boss and 12 Others Are Arrested, Prosecutors Say

An indictment unsealed on Tuesday accuses the organization of orchestrating a two-decade scheme to extort a labor union.

Credit…Jesse Ward

 

For two decades, the leadership of the Colombo crime family extorted a Queens labor union, federal prosecutors said — an effort that continued unabated even as members of the mob clan cycled through prison, the family’s notorious longtime boss died, and as federal law enforcement closed in.

Over time, what began as a Colombo captain’s shakedown of a union leader, complete with expletive-laced threats of violence, expanded into a cottage industry, prosecutors said, as the Colombo organization assumed control of contracting and union business, with side operations in phony construction certificates, marijuana trafficking and loan-sharking.

On Tuesday, 11 reputed members and associates of the Colombo crime family, including the mob clan’s entire leadership, were charged in a labor racketeering case brought by the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn.

All but two of the men were arrested Tuesday morning across New York and New Jersey, prosecutors said. Another was surrendered to the authorities on Tuesday; another defendant, identified as the family consigliere, remained at large, prosecutors said.

The indictment accuses the Colombo family of orchestrating a two-decade scheme to extort an unnamed labor union that represented construction workers, using threats of violence to secure payments and arrange contracts that would benefit the crime family.

The charges are an ambitious effort by the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to take down one of the city’s five Mafia families. In addition to the union extortion scheme, which is the heart of the racketeering charge, the indictment charges several misdeeds often associated with the mob, including drug trafficking, money laundering, loan-sharking and falsifying federal labor safety paperwork.

Detention hearings for the defendants in Brooklyn federal court continued into the evening Tuesday, as they entered not-guilty pleas to the charges; prosecutors had asked the court to keep 10 of the defendants in custody.

“Everything we allege in this investigation proves history does indeed repeat itself,” Michael J. Driscoll, F.B.I. assistant director-in-charge, said in a statement. “The underbelly of the crime families in New York City is alive and well.”

Around 2001, prosecutors said, Vincent Ricciardo — a reported captain in the family, also known as “Vinny Unions” — began to demand a portion of a senior labor union official’s salary. When Mr. Ricciardo was convicted and imprisoned on federal racketeering charges in the mid-2000s, prosecutors said, his cousin continued to collect those payments.

Starting in late 2019, prosecutors said, the senior leadership of the Colombo family became directly involved in the shakedown, which extended to broader efforts to siphon money from the union: for example, manipulating the selection of union health fund vendors to contract with entities connected to the family, and diverting more than $10,000 each month from the fund to the family.

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Andrew Russo, 87, who prosecutors describe as the family boss, is accused of taking part in those efforts, as well as a money-laundering scheme to send the proceeds of the union extortion through intermediaries to Colombo associates. He was among nine defendants charged with racketeering.

Mr. Russo appeared in court virtually from the hospital Tuesday; he is set to be detained upon his release, pending a future bail hearing.

The family’s infamous longtime boss, Carmine J. Persico, died in federal custody in North Carolina in March 2019.

Federal law enforcement learned of the extortion scheme about a year ago, prosecutors wrote in a court filing Tuesday; investigators gathered thousands of hours of wiretapped calls and conversations recorded by a confidential witness, wrote the prosecutors, who also described law-enforcement surveillance of meetings among the accused conspirators.

The authorities said they repeatedly captured Mr. Ricciardo and his associates threatening to kill the union official. “I’ll put him in the ground right in front of his wife and kids,” Mr. Ricciardo was recorded saying in June.

On another occasion cited by prosecutors in the memo seeking his detention, Mr. Ricciardo directed the union official to hire a consultant selected by the Colombo family, saying: “It’s my union and that’s it.” Prosecutors said his activities were overseen by a Colombo soldier and the consigliere who remains at large.

Much of the activity outlined in the indictment took place while the defendants were either in prison or on supervised release for prior federal mob-related convictions. Theodore Persico Jr., described as a family captain and soldier, was released from federal prison in 2020 and, despite a directive not to associate with members of organized crime, “directed much of the labor racketeering scheme,” prosecutors said.

Mr. Persico, 58, is set to inherit the role of boss after Mr. Russo, prosecutors wrote.

Several of the defendants were named in what prosecutors described as a fraudulent safety training scheme, in which they falsified state and federal paperwork that is required for construction workers to show they have completed safety training courses.

One of the defendants, John Ragano — whom prosecutors say is a soldier in the Bonanno crime family — is accused of setting up phony occupational safety training schools in New York, which prosecutors said were “mills” that provided fraudulent safety training certificates to hundreds of people.

In October 2020, prosecutors said, an undercover law enforcement officer visited one of the schools in Ozone Park, Queens, and received, from Mr. Ricciardo’s cousin, a blank test form and an answer sheet; weeks later, the agent returned to pick up his federal safety card and paid $500.

The purported schools were also used for meetings with members of La Cosa Nostra — the group of crime families commonly known as the Mafia — and to store illegal drugs and fireworks, according to the indictment.

Mr. Ragano wasn’t charged on the racketeering count, although prosecutors also sought his detention pending trial. In addition to the racketeering count, several defendants, including Mr. Ricciardo and his cousin, were charged with extortion, conspiracy, fraud and conspiracy to make false statements.

William K. Rashbaum contributed reporting.

Correction: 

An earlier version of this article misstated the number of people identified in an indictment as members of the Colombo crime family. It is 11, not more than a dozen.