Tampa Bay Bucs were right to remove Jon Gruden from ring of honor | Editorial
The Gruden move was just one of the highs and lows from across Tampa Bay and Florida this week.
Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden reacts during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Detroit Lions in 2018.
Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden reacts during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Detroit Lions in 2018. [ JOHN HEFTI | AP ]
This article represents the opinion of the Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board.
Published Oct. 16, 2021

Bucs punt on Gruden. The Bucs sent the right message this week by swiftly removing former coach Jon Gruden’s name from the franchise’s Ring of Honor. Tuesday’s announcement followed a report revealing Gruden’s repeated use of racist, misogynistic and homophobic language in emails over a period of several years, and it came only a day after Gruden, 58, resigned as coach of the Raiders. Gruden coached the Bucs for seven seasons, led the franchise to its first Super Bowl title his first season (in January 2003) and remains the team’s winningest coach in terms of victories. But the Bucs were right to denounce Gruden’s language and to distance the franchise from this backward thinking. “The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have advocated for purposeful change in the areas of race relations, gender equality, diversity and inclusion for many years,” the team said in a statement. “While we acknowledge Jon Gruden’s contributions on the field, his actions go against our core values as an organization.” In a statement, Gruden apologized and said: “I never meant to hurt anyone.” It’s a cautionary tale about what really makes a role model and leader.

The First Lady’s example. Gov. Ron DeSantis said Tuesday that his family has “a road ahead” since First Lady Casey DeSantis was diagnosed with breast cancer. We can only wish the First Family the best, and admire the straightforward way that Casey DeSantis has approached her treatment. But the governor also offered some words of wisdom this week. He noted that his wife sought a cancer screening as a preventative step; “she just had a feeling she needed to do it,” he said. The governor used her example to encourage men and women to get screened for different types of cancer. And he urged Floridians to listen to their doctors. This is sound advice no one can hear enough.

They’re making a list. The Florida Department of Health has begun compiling a list of businesses, individuals and governments “under review” for allegedly violating Florida’s so-called vaccine passport ban. The law bars companies, schools and governments from denying services to anyone on the basis of whether they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19. But it’s unclear why the state is compiling the list, or even how it is coming about. The list includes several well-known names in Tampa Bay — from the Straz Center for the Performing Arts to BayCare Health System — and also large corporations such as Starbucks and Raytheon. And some companies are questioning why they are included, insisting they are in compliance with Florida’s vaccine statutes. The list also includes “Moffitt Communications,” which does not match the name of any entity on the state’s corporations database. You’d think the Department of Health would have better things to do to. State officials should at least come clean about their intentions. This looks like another sloppy effort to enforce a wrongheaded policy.

Museum’s smart moves. The Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum took two important steps this week. First, it shortened the name, to The Woodson African American Museum of Florida. That’s a good marketing move. Simplifying the name, and identifying it with Florida, will help the museum stand out and give the institution a sense of place. The museum also announced Tuesday that the Pinellas Community Foundation will help raise $27 million needed to build and operate a 30,000-square-foot facility. That relationship will help connect the museum with donors. And it provides a rich resource for the institution as it navigates the cultural scene.

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Editorials are the institutional voice of the Tampa Bay Times. The members of the Editorial Board are Editor of Editorials Graham Brink, Sherri Day, Sebastian Dortch, John Hill, Jim Verhulst and Chairman and CEO Paul Tash. Follow @TBTimes_Opinion on Twitter for more opinion news.


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