Leaked messages from athletes and coaches stir controversy


Daniel Shin, Copy Editor

Jon Gruden, former NFL head coach for the Los Angeles Raiders, resigned on Oct. 11, after his Emails—showcasing his continuous use of discriminatory language—became public. A New York Times investigation revealed that Gruden used a barrage of racist and homophobic language in his Emails from 2011 to 2018, targetting players and politicians.


“I think that Gruden made the right decision to resign,” Brandon Choi (10), avid NFL fan, said. “There should not be any place for racism and discrimination in a high ranking position or sports.”


The recent event has prompted many to question whether the NFL should now regularly check work Emails of coaches and athletes to deter similar cases from happening again.


“Especially with the news of Gruden, I think [people in power] should have to turn over Emails,” Morgan Davis, sports enthusiast, said. “I am guessing there were a lot of discussions about Colin Kaepernick behind the scene, and a lot of the talk goes unchecked.”


Kaepernick was an NFL quarterback who was banned from professional football for his noncompliance with the league’s rules. Many believed he was a target of racial discrimiation during his time in the NFL.


Then, just two days after Gruden stepped down, Shim Suk-hee, a professional speed skater in South Korea, was banned from skating at the national training center over her leaked text messages, which appeared to criticize her teammates during the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. Now, Shim Suk-hee’s chances of participating in the upcoming Winter Olympics remain uncertain.


“Action against Shim Suk-hee was appropriate as her decision to write negative comments in texts damaged her team’s morale,” Brandon said. “Whether she should be banned from participating in the next Olympics depends on her ability to renew relationships with her teammates.”


The cases of both Shim Suk-hee and Jon Gruden, though unrelated, attest to a growing number of sports icons finding themselves under public scrutiny for their misuse of language.


For the average user, the possibility that messages become publicly disclosed is of secondary concern— data encryption promises digital privacy, assuring consumers that messages are visible solely for the recipient. But with the recent news of Gruden and Shim Suk-hee, people under the public spotlight may now take extra caution before typing away on social media.


“I would definitely hope people would be more careful,” Mr. Davis said. “The bigger issue is that some people are in leadership positions. More than just being careful with what they say, maybe they should reflect and re-evaluate their belief system.”