Trevor Noah on Gruden emails: ‘At the very least, be more original with your hatred’

Late-night hosts discuss the Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden and Greg Abbott’s vaccine mandate ban in Texas

Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah led Tuesday’s Daily Show with the resignation of Jon Gruden, the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, after the New York Times and Wall Street Journal released a trove of homophobic and misogynistic emails. In emails sent as far back as a decade ago, Gruden used racial stereotypes, mocked the NFL’s efforts to minimize concussions, dismissed the hiring of female referees and disparaged players who protested during the national anthem by taking a knee.

Black people having big lips? Seriously, Gruden? If you're gonna be racist, at least be original.

— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) October 13, 2021

“This guy hit everybody,” said Noah. “Blacks, gays, women, protesters, brain damage victims – it’s almost like he was competing in a cancellation decathlon.

“And I can’t believe I have to say this,” he added, “but people, you should not be writing racist emails. Just get up, walk over to your co-worker’s desk, and say the n-word in person. It’s called human interaction, people. Have we forgotten this?”

Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Gruden had described the NFL Players Association executive director, DeMaurice Smith, who is black, as having “lips the size of michellin tires” in an email from 2011. On Monday, the New York Times reviewed further emails sent to Bruce Allen, the former president of the Washington Football Team, in which Gruden called the NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, a homophobic slur and a “clueless anti football pussy”.

“At the very least though, be more original with your hatred,” Noah said. “I mean, black people having big lips? Seriously, dude? If you’re going to be racist, at least think of something new.”

Daily Show correspondent Dulcé Sloan interjected with some follow-up questions: “Why are we only finding out now? Why are we only mad at him? What about the person who sat on these emails for 10 years and waited?

“Who was he sending these emails to, and why were they sitting on them?” she added. “You need to ask the assistant coach. You need to ask somebody who would benefit from his job. I’m not saying he wasn’t dead-ass wrong. I’m just saying: ‘lips like michellin tires’ was racist 10 years ago.”

Jimmy Kimmel

Jimmy Kimmel also referenced Gruden’s resignation on Tuesday evening. Gruden’s emails were “so offensive, the Raiders almost made him offensive coordinator”, he quipped.

“So he of course apologized,” Kimmel said. In a statement released on Monday night, Gruden thanked the Raiders organization, fans and players and added: “I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone.”

“You know you’ve screwed up when you’re not fit to coach a team whose fans dress like actual demons,” said Kimmel.

And in Texas, Governor Greg Abbott is “doing his best to bring Covid back” with an executive order that bans vaccine mandates in the state. “The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, & our best defense against the virus, but should always remain voluntary & never forced,” he wrote on Twitter. “Right, and seatbelts prevent auto fatalities, but feel free to ghostride the whip,” Kimmel joked.

“And while Governor Abbott is selectively determining who can do what with their bodies, Texas senator Ted Cruz is helping to launch an imaginary new crisis” by claiming a rash of flight cancellations by Southwest Airlines this weekend was due to a strike by pilots over vaccine mandates. Enough Republicans ran with the story that the Federal Aviation Administration released a statement confirming that “none of the information from Southwest, its pilot union, or the FAA indicates that this weekend’s cancellations were related to vaccine mandates.”

“The one time Republicans support a labor strike is when no labor is actually striking,” Kimmel explained.

Seth Meyers

And on Late Night, Seth Meyers discussed a new poll which found that Americans are losing trust in Joe Biden’s ability to handle the coronavirus. “Really? Who’s handling it well?” he said. “We’re all losing it. The Brady Bunch came on the other day and I thought it was a Zoom meeting.

“I don’t trust anyone who’s handling it well,” he added. “When I’m at ShopRite and there’s an old guy with no mask on just smiling and touching all the cans, whistling a happy tune, I don’t think, ‘Oh, I wish he was in charge.’”

In other news, the Taliban reportedly instructed its religious police to be more moderate, “which means even the Taliban passed police reform before we did”, Meyers joked.

And DC Comics announced that its new Superman character will come out as bisexual in its next issue. “Come on, it’s 2021,” said Meyers. “The crazy part is that there are still Superman comics.”


Adrian Horton

The GuardianTramp

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