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35 mins

The Problem Podcast

The Problem With the NFL: Keyshawn Johnson Explains

Fantasy football legend Jon Stewart sits down with real football legend Keyshawn Johnson to discuss coach Jon Gruden’s leaked racist emails and how the power structure of the NFL enables such behavior. Jon is also joined by Kris Acimovic and Kasaun Wilson, who don’t hold back on the Gruden controversy.

The Problem with Jon Stewart Podcast
Episode 6 Transcript

Jon Stewart: I apologize for the setup. It is like watching like an old man. It’s almost like, do you remember the – who was the mobster? Chin Gigante used to wander the streets of Greenwich Village in a bathrobe and that’s kind of what it looks like watching me get ready for a podcast. Because on the –

Kris Acimovic: None of us got that reference. None of us.

Jon: – For real? Vin the Chin Gigante?

Kris: No.

Kasaun Wilson: Have you ever heard a reference so obscure you have to ask them how to spell it so you can Google it.

[JON LAUGHS]

[INTRO MUSIC]

Jon: Hey, everybody, welcome to the podcast. Big episode this week, we’re going to be talking about football. From now on this podcast is a fantasy football podcast. No more politics and issues, and I don’t know. We’re here with Kay and Kris. They’re both writers on the program. Welcome, guys!

Kris: Hey –

Kasaun: Hey, Jon.

Kris: – Yeah.

Jon: We have an opportunity to talk to a gentleman named Keyshawn Johnson, who is just a Hall of Fame receiver. All world – won two Super Bowl. He was number one draft pick in the entire draft as a receiver went to the Jets, played for the Bucks, played for –

Kasaun: Cowboys.

Kris: Yeah. Kind of bounced around.

Jon: – Phenomenal player. He played for Jon Gruden, and so Keyshawn is going to speak about that. But more importantly, I think – to talk to him about that weird disconnect between a league that is majority Black and Brown and run by overwhelming majority white and whiter. And what’s that like and first of all, let’s jump in with, are you both football fans?

Kris: Yes, I was born and raised a Denver Broncos fan to my emotional detriments. I was so tied up in it that like it, it was emotionally unhealthy.

Kasaun: I’m from Jersey so I grew up a Jets fan.

Jon: Now before we we get going I want to set the stage here. Jon Gruden was the coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. So Jon Gruden, obviously in the big news, had just a horrible, hateful s*** in his emails that he was sending out and apparently felt very comfortable sending them out, but and had to resign. Did you see any of the Gruden emails?

Kris: Yes. It was such it was kind of like sexism, racism, homophobia. Gang’s all here kind of a deal. Like, no, when you’re talking about inclusivity. He really he really did it. He went after everybody

Jon: I believe it’s what they refer to as locker room talk.

Kris: That’s right.

Jon: How much of it do you think is reflective of deep ignorance in his soul and how much of it do you think is performative masculinity? I get the sense that this is a deeply ignorant dude.

Kasaun: My grandmother always says any racism you see is just overflow.

[LAUGHS]

Kasaun: Like –

Kris: Is what you couldn’t keep in?

Kasaun: – Yeah.

Kris: Just pouring out of your body.

[LAUGHS]

Kasaun: As soon as you said rubber lips, I was like, It’s time to lick the spoon –

[KRIS LAUGHS]

Kasaun: – Because the cake is in the oven.

[LAUGHS]

Kasuan: This is not the cake. This is just us licking the spoon –

[JON LAUGHS]

Kasaun: – This is a lot of icing you used. Where is the cake? Cause you got it. You’ve made a lot of icing, and that’s what this is. Unfortunately, Jon Gruden has given us all racial diabetes, and we have to live with it. And so does he.

Jon: Because it does, you know, you get the sense where they say like, “Oh, well, people say things on emails that they would never say, you know,” like, right? But even emails aren’t the depth of what you would say to people in person.

Kris: Right.

Jon: And by the way, the idea that Jon Gruden is an anomaly in the national football league –

Kris: The only one. The only one.

Jon: – is bonkers. You know, you can make Gruden the scapegoat and you can pretend that this is an issue with him. But this is a league wide –

Kris: Yes

Jon: – Like these guys are comfortable enough on their emails to be saying this s***. Like, that’s how comfortable that’s how the ease is, and if that’s the case, I’ll guarantee you it ain’t Gruden and out, like this is the way they talk.

Kris: Oh for sure,

Kasaun: The conversation from here on out isn’t, we shouldn’t be saying this stuff on email. It’ll be, everybody make sure you delete your emails.

Kris: Yeah. Also, but it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy, as they say.

Kasaun: The biggest part of the story to me is that the NFL is not releasing any other emails. That means people were hitting reply all and they were not disagreeing with him. Do you think it was a whole bunch of his rich friends who were like, “Hey, what y’all want for lunch today?” He’s like, “I don’t care, as long as we got no rubber lips in them” and they’re like, “Come on, Jon, you know, we don’t talk like that.” Chipotle is open. Like, no –

[JON LAUGHS]

Kasaun: – This is how they talk. And he just happened to be the fall guy. It’s the it’s –

Kris: The idea that they did this exhaustive search and Gruden was the only one they came up with is dubious at best.

Jon: Well, they didn’t. That was the whole thing. I mean everybody was angry at the Raiders for making a mockery of the mockery that is the Rooney Rule. That is their rule that you have to interview a minority candidate.

Kris: And you don’t have to hire the person, you just have to send him through.

Jon: That’s right. I’m not even sure you have to talk to him. You just have to say you’re going to talk to him.

Kris: Yeah. The interview starts out with, “we all know this is a formality, right?”

[JON LAUGHS]

Jon: Here’s the first question they ask their Black candidates, “Do you know where your car is parked?”

[LAUGHS]

Jon: Yes, you can. You can go back there now. You can –

Kasaun: Do you know? Do you need us to validate?

Kris: Make sure they get a picture of you leaving the interview –
[KASUAN LAUGHS]

Kris: – So we know.

Kasaun: They ask every Black candidate, “Is your flash on?”

[LAUGHS]

Jon: Instagram or it didn’t happen, my friend. It was clear they wanted Gruden. So they did a couple of performative interviews there, and they hired him to some utterly insane contract.

Kris: Right.

Jon : All right. In honor of John Gruden’s email scandal and his really just, I think piss poor roasting ability just didn’t seem polished, didn’t seem focused. I mean, I’ll have to go back and look at the tape, but there’s a lot of things he can clean up, a lot of things that we can correct there. And I just wanted Kay and Kris any roast of Jon Gruden that we might be able to throw out there. You know, sometimes it’s helpful for a young guy to sit and maybe on the sidelines, watch some people roast, pick up some things so that when he gets back in there, you know he can be a little bit more polished. You guys have anything?

Kris: Yeah, yeah. We got some stuff.

Jon: Okay, let me let me hear a little bit what you got. And then we’ll go from there. And by the way, these are not recent. These are roasts that Kay and Chris wrote. Over the last 12 years –

[KRIS LAUGHS]

Kris: We’ve been doing it since 2011. We’ve been exchanging emails –

Kasaun: Absolutely.

Kris: – About Gruden.

Jon: What have you got?

Kasaun: Jon Gruden looks like the mechanical baby from “Toy Story.”

[LAUGHS]

Kasaun: The one with the arm missing.

Jon: Yes.

Kasaun: Here’s the thing, Jon Gruden left his job at ESPN to stop doing color commentary, and he just lost his job as an NFL coach because he would not stop doing color commentary.

[JON LAUGHS]

Kasaun: You know, who is really going to suffer the most from all of this, and this is very obscure, but Frank Caliendo.

[JON LAUGHS]

Kasaun: Is probably he’s made a living off of doing Jon Gruden impressions, and now he has to find a way to work lips as big as Michelin tires into his next ESPN appearance.

[JON LAUGHS]

Kris: Okay, Jon Gruden managed to do in his emails, but he could never do as a coach put together a strong offensive line.

[JON LAUGHS]

Kasaun: Dang.

Jon: That’s very good. You know what? That’s actually remarkably clever.

Kris: Yeah.

Jon: I enjoyed that very much. I thought you were going to go with the roast. Like, “F*** that Pillsbury Doughboy lookin Chucky Doll.” I didn’t realize that you guys were going to go in with classy and clever.

Kris: Yeah, we got to show them how to not resign when you get in a roast battle.

Kasaun: Yeah, we wanted to leave something for Dane Cook

Kris: We want to elevate the discourse in the NFL.

[LAUGHS]

Kris: That’s our goal.

Jon: I was going to go in with like, “he’s the only NFL coach who’s dick is considered an innie.”

Kris: Oooooo.

Kasaun: Can you confirm that with Keyshawn, please?

[JON LAUGHS]

Jon: Yes.

Kris: Jon Gruden is so misogynistic he was fired from a job where beating your wife gets only a two game suspension.

Jon: Oh, wow. That yes, boy, and brutal. I like that one.

Kris: Okay, Jon Gruden’s son is named Deuce. Did you know that? He’s named after his father, who a piece of s***.

[JON LAUGHS]

Jon: Is that really true?

Kris: Yeah. His name is Deuce.

Jon: How old is his son? Because now –

Kris: He’s a grown man. I wasn’t going to touch this and then –

Jon: – Okay.

[JON LAUGHS]

Kasaun: If you want to be racist and people not know what you’re saying, here’s what you don’t do. You don’t text someone who runs the Washington Redskins. What is –

[JON LAUGHS]

Kasaun: – That’s the one person who you do not text. You never saw OJ, like, fax Ted Bundy. Like, you don’t do that.

[JON LAUGHS]

Kasaun: You don’t hit up people who are doing the same thing as you.

Kris: It’s not safe.

Kasaun: Yeah.

Kris: It’s not safe for you here. So, so did you hear that Jon Gruden is against women being referees?

Jon: No.

Kris: Yeah. Yeah, he’s afraid he’ll get 15 yards for not knowing where the clitoris is.

[JON LAUGHS]

Kris: Beneath the hood

Jon: I believe that’s referred to as a legal procedure or illegal use. I think illegal use of hands. I think.

[LAUGHS]

Jon: All right that’s tremendous, guys. Now next up we’ve got the interview with Keyshawn Johnson. I’m going to say something about this interview, we had to make some changes because of some technical difficulties. So you might think to yourself like, “This sounds different and maybe not as good as – ” you know what f*** you! You’re not the technical difficulty police. I’m doing the best I can. All right well, you can still understand it pretty good and Keyshawn was super interesting so here you go. Please take a listen.

Interview with Keyshawn Johnson

Jon: We are talking right now with Keyshawn Johnson, legendary NFL wide receiver. I mean, you play 4 teams, you won a Super Bowl, all these different accolades. Now you’re obviously busy from sunrise to sundown, doing all the shows and ESPN. So thank you for taking the time to talk to us, Keyshawn.

Keyshawn Johnson: Oh yeah, no problem man. We finally got it together. We had a little technical difficulty earlier, but we worked. We worked, we worked it out, we worked it out and I’m here.

Jon: Absolutely. It turns out it’s not easy to get a media football star named Keyshawn Johnson, together with an 80-year-old man who looks like he should be in the movie “UP”. Thank you for joining. I wanted to talk to you a little bit, not just about, you know, the Jon Gruden situation, but really the broader issue in sports about the disconnect between the coaching class and the ownership class and the player class. You played with Gruden? Yes?

Keyshawn: Yeah, I played for Gruden when we were together, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And you know, we went to the Super Bowl, won the Super Bowl, and then in 2004, I played with him for about half the season. And then I was deactivated and went to work for Fox for about seven weeks and then eventually was traded to the Dallas Cowboys.

Jon: But talking about Gruden, you know, this is not justifying what he wrote, but it feels like he’s the fall guy. He can’t be the only, you know, this is one of those situations like, you know, I lived in New York City for a long time, when you found a roach, you knew that wasn’t the only roach that was sitting around in your kitchen.

[KEYSHAWN LAUGHS]

Jon: Like, nobody’s that comfortable on business email accounts –

Keyshawn: Yeah.

Jon: – If that’s not how they actually speak to each other.

Keyshawn: We all know that in this situation, Jon, that there’s more people that need to be uncovered. There’s no question about it. I don’t believe that those emails came directly from the NFL. I don’t personally believe that. I think somebody within the Washington football teams, headquarters organization lawsuits along that way release the emails because of his relationship with Bruce Allen, who has a relationship with the Gruden’s. That’s just my conspiracy.

Jon: That’s interesting. You’re saying that might have been a way to get at Bruce Allen who was the the executive at the Washington football team and Gruden is just roadkill in the middle of that.

Keyshawn: I believe that’s how that got leaked out. Even though the NFL has the six hundred and fifty thousand emails as well, they saw other things in there –

Jon: Right.

Keyshawn: – And they don’t want those other things released. And Gruden got caught in the wash of it, which I’m glad he did get caught in the wash of it because it’s going to uncover a whole lot of stuff eventually.

Jon: Now, that’s interesting, because when you say you’re glad he got caught in it, it’s going to uncover stuff, is the type of stuff that you’re talking about similar, this kind of casual racism, casual bigotry against really many of his own players.

Keyshawn: You know, Jon, I don’t know if it’s going to uncover more racist bigotry, behavior, sexism – I don’t know what but it’s some dirt there somewhere. I don’t know if it means that we buried eight bodies in the ballpark of the stadium. I don’t know. You don’t know what it is, right? You just know that there’s something because why else would you hide and not disclose six hundred and fifty thousand emails to the public or to the individuals that have these lawsuits, the women that have these lawsuits against the Washington football team? And the NFL is saying, “Well, we don’t really want to do that.”

Jon: And that gets us to the crux of the kind of conversation I want to have with you, because the one thing that the NFL does, I think better than almost any other organization in the country, is protect its ass, protect its name. You know, first of all, it’s a league where only three of the coaches are Black and the league is maybe 70 percent African-American, so, they put on everybody’s helmet end racism. And they do all these symbolic gestures. But the truth is, there are no minority owners other than Khan in North Carolina, and there’s only three coaches, head coaches. And here you have something that exposes, I think, an underbelly of the way that they’ve done business since their inception. And how do you feel about that? You know, having been involved in it it’s not that you don’t like the ownership or you don’t like the coaches, but structurally, the NFL is antiquated.

Keyshawn: You know, Jon, I got a lot of different feelings, a lot of different views on how the NFL is structured and how it’s run and the way it is. I start by saying, I just released a book called “The Forgotten First,” the reintegration of four Black men back into the NFL from in 1946. And a lot of research was done in this space about all the racism back to the inception of the National Football League to where we are today. And I think that, when you start looking at owners, let’s start there.

Jon: Right.

Keyshawn: And we talk about minorities right in, let’s keep it honest, when we say minorities, we’re really talking about Black people. We ain’t talking about Shah Khan We’re talking about Black people, African-American people that look like me.

Jon: Right.

Keyshawn: When you talk about ownership of something. In the National Football League, the majority of the owners that own these teams, either was handed these teams down –

Jon: Right.

Keyshawn: – From family and generation from generation to generation, so think about when football first started. You think they can let our Black ass get a slice of ownership back then? Hell no! We were slaves to them. So why would they give us a piece? So it goes from great great grandfather to grandfather to son to, you know, and it just keeps going on and on and on.

Jon: Right. It’s a legacy.

Keyshawn: It’s a legacy piece. Every now and then –

Jon: Mm-Hmm.

Keyshawn: – There’s a team or two, every 15 years or so, maybe a little bit even longer than that, that pop up and when they pop up. We as a Black community, we don’t necessarily have the economics to buy a team –

Jon: Mm-Hmm.

Keyshawn: – Based on the standards in which the NFL has set to be able to purchase a team. You’re probably in your head going, “well, that’s not true. Oprah can buy one. Magic Johnson could buy one. Jay-Z could buy one.” No, they can’t. No, they can’t. Because the owners that are purchasing these things based on the standards that are set, you got to have a certain amount of money in the bank. Liquid, not paper, right? Yeah, I’m buying a team for $3 billion. How much do you think the governing body of the NFL want to see that you have in your bank account liquid and ready to go?

Jon: Right:

Keyshawn: They want to see six billion. Well, who in the hell has six billion dollars –

Jon: Right.

Keyshawn: – Laying around? So that’s one of the main reasons –

Jon: Right.

Keyshawn: – That you can’t even get to the table –

Jon: And they vote on it. Keyshawn, don’t they you know –

Keyshawn: Yes, absolutely.

Jon: – Imagine you’re going to sell your house and everybody in your neighborhood had to vote to accept the people that were coming into your house. I mean, right, there is a structural barrier –

Keyshawn: Yes.

Jon: – Against an ownership group that they feel doesn’t follow the same rules of old money or whatever it is that –

Keyshawn: But it’s, Jon it’s put in the place some time ago.

Jon: Right!

Keyshawn: So when you look at the NBA’s structure, the NFL team average probably two and a half, three billion dollars to purchase. The worst team in a worst market, probably a $3 billion purchase, off the top of my head.

Jon: Mm-Hmm.

Keyshawn: I can buy an NBA team for a billion bucks.

Jon: Right.

Keyshawn: So that’s a lot easier for us as Blacks to participate in because we got closer to a billion than we do six seven eight 10 billion. Michael Jordan can buy an NBA team. Michael Jordan could not buy an NFL team, even though he’s a billionaire because of the guidelines they set that he will never meet those criterias to start with.

Jon: In your opinion, has this structure stayed in place because the status quo is reluctant to change? Or is it more purposeful than that? And so I’ll give you an example. I remember when they were talking about it was this is all within the discussion of Colin Kaepernick and Black Lives Matter and Vic Fangio, who is I was it coach in Denver, right? Denver Broncos.

Keyshawn: Denver Broncos head coach.

Jon: So he comes out and says, “you know, I look at the locker room and it’s a meritocracy. You know, it’s not we don’t have those issues here in terms of race and all those other things because this room is a meritocracy and everybody knows that you earn your spot here based on your performance.” And I wanted to say to Vic Fangio, “hey, man. Turn around. Look at the owner’s box, that’s not a meritocracy.” Like you said, that’s a hand-me-down on a legacy in a monopoly of 32 people. And he’s trying to tell you that football doesn’t have the kind of racial injustices and inequalities that you see in general society because you earn your spot. You know what they should have, Keyshawn? They should have a f***ing combine for owners –

[KEYSHAWN LAUGHS]

Jon: – They should have a combine for owners and for head coaches and let the players put them through their paces.

Keyshawn: Yeah, it’s, you know, Vic Fangio was delusional in that statement. People don’t like to talk about the issues because people get uncomfortable when you start talking in race and things of that nature because they’re uncomfortable in their own skin. You know, in my book we did some, some investigating, obviously with the Rooney family and that whole deal. So in 1933, Art Rooney, had just purchased the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise.

Jon: Right.

Keyshawn: And at this time, the other owners headed up by George Preston Marshall, who was the owner of the Washington Football Team, which at that time was the Washington Redskins, did not want Black players. And Art Rooney, prior to his passing, told his grandson one of the biggest mistakes of his life, not career, his life, was that he did not push back, in the 1930s to have Black players integrated into the National Football League. He kind of was new, so he didn’t really want to, you know, he didn’t want to get pushed out but he regretted that. And his son, Dan Rooney, is one of the spearheads of the Rooney Rule for Diversity because he realized what his father had been through. So when you look at that, when you have owners like that trying to make things better. It will become better.

Jon: Right, right. And that’s I think the point, Keyshawn, is the pace of how they talk about it. Like, I don’t know when the Rooney Rule was put into place. It was a long time ago.

Keyshawn: Yeah.

Jon: And it really is a symbolic gesture that appears to be an easy workaround for all these teams.

Keyshawn: Well, that’s because that’s because they don’t follow the rule, Jon. They won’t do it. But Pittsburgh followed the rule. That’s why Mike Tomlin is still there. That’s why he’s successful –

Jon: Right.

Keyshawn: – Because they practice what they preach. And the other owners don’t practice what the Rooney’s preach. They just don’t do it’s like the general manager has the same agent as the head coach who has the same agent as the offense and defensive coordinators.
Jon: Right.
Keyshawn: It’s this whole little slick monopoly.
Jon: You have to intentionally dismantle it, but I think it’s probably more jarring in the National Football League because the league is 70 percent Black players. It looks like exploitation. It looks like extraction of value to the detriment of these players. I’ll give you an example. You know, you’re dealing with the league where it says “end racism” on everybody’s helmet –

Keyshawn: Yes.

Jon: – Yet they just announced, Oh yeah, you know, we’re going to stop putting a deficit score on Black players concussion index because it kept us from paying out the, you know, that health fund that they pay to people who suffer damages from concussions and protocols for playing football. Well, they were scoring Black players lower on a cognitive index test, so that if their test scores on cognitive judgment were lower, it wouldn’t pay out.

Keyshawn: Yeah.

Jon: And that’s just now.

Keyshawn: Yeah, because we’re living in a different world now. And the last things that you want to do is get caught with your hand in the cookie jar doing something despising that you’ve been doing for many, many years. So I joke with my bosses at ESPN all the time. Right now, I tell, I say, “Yeah, I’m going to get what I want right now,” the next couple of years because y’all got to do what I say, you know, I’m joking with them. But at the same time, that’s what it feels like. It feels like all of a sudden because the heat is turned up on from a national perspective of how you deal with minorities.

Jon: Right.

Keyshawn: We almost feel like we got to get ours right now because in about 18 months, we ain’t going to be able to do nothing

Jon: Right. Keyshawn, why do you think, because I was thinking of, you know, how do you get around this? And I think the things that you said earlier stuck with me and it made me think of something, you know, when they do expansion in the league. Why don’t they make it so that if you’re going to do an expansion in the league; has to be Black owned, you have to go through a different ownership structure or even, you know, I can remember, you know, if you think about Hollywood in the 20s and 30s and all the artists of Hollywood got together because they were tired of being exploited by the owners of these studios, and they started their own studio. You know, what are the chances of changing the dynamic in the league?

Keyshawn: Well, I think that that’s a good way to do it, but then you go back to the original bylaws of ownership. What are you going to change the bylaws of ownership? You got 32 owners already saying a certain thing, needs to be done a certain way and now, if you say well it needs to include, a Black owner who is out there willing that’s Black economically to put their money into an NFL franchise in an NFL city, it becomes one of those deals, right? Because the next time that they expand, that team might be worth $10 billion.

Jon: They’ve got to kick in.

Keyshawn: I think they will Jon. At some point we will see a Black owner. I don’t know when that is, but I think at some point we will see one because wealth is being accumulated in different stages around, somebody like Jay-Z might have an opportunity to get a piece and then he can buy another piece and another piece and eventually own it outright.

Jon: Right.

Keyshawn: But they’re so damn expensive that it just takes so much money to get a franchise right now and. People just don’t have that type of net worth. Laying around where they can just –

Jon: Do you think this dynamic is going to change them? And for the most part, are the players okay with it not changing?

Keyshawn: – Yeah, but one of the things that I would say is that the decision makers, the owners –

Jon: Mhm hmm.

Keyshawn: – Hire people that are the presidents and general managers that make the decisions on who to hire.

Jon: Right.

Keyshawn: So most of these owners are businessmen with toys that don’t know how to operate the toys. So they look for other people to advise them on how to operate the toys. If Woody Johnson and his brother, Christopher Johnson, would have called me six years ago, they’d be in the Super Bowl and have won it already by now, but they are reluctant –

Jon: I’m sorry Keyshawn, just for a second, I blacked out. I thought you said the Jets and the Super Bowl in the same sentence so I’m sure –

Keyshawn: I did. I did!

Jon: – Wait, no that, Keyshawn, no.

Keyshawn: I did.

Keyshawn: If they communicate with me –

Jon: Right,. .

Keyshawn: – I can help them understand how to put a team together.

Jon: So why don’t they?

Keyshawn: Because they’re listening to the good old boys with the gray hair. That’s their buddies that tell them, “Oh, well, this guy’s great. You should listen to him. He knows everything because he won in nineteen sixty five.” They’re outdated. They don’t get it. And so it’s hard to get to them, but then to even be able to want to sit down and have a real conversation with you because it’s not their idea and they don’t want to be seen as lackluster and not smart. It becomes an ego thing. On top of that, they call Peyton Manning –

Jon: Right.

Keyshawn: S*** work, huh? Let’s be honest. Right, right. They call Peyton Manning.

Jon: Yeah.

Keyshawn: They talk to him, but they’re more comfortable with that. It looks like them. So it’s comfortable.

Jon: Maybe on a more hopeful note, what is the leverage the players have in this league to not just get a little more of a slice of the pie that people are making on television deals and all the other ancillary businesses that go along with football because the shelf life for a player is so small. But what’s a way for players to build equity in this league? Because equity seems to be the answer to really structurally changing these kinds of imbalances.

Keyshawn: Well, I think first of all, you got to start with the owners. You got to have the first owner to be able to say, “You know what? I’m going to give them a piece of my team. He played for many years here. I’m going to give him a slice of the pie because I got a whole piece and a crumb ain’t going to hurt me.” So you got to have that first guy take that step.

Jon: Do you have any idea who that owner would be?

Keyshawn: I don’t, man. Quite frankly to be honest with you, Jon, it doesn’t even matter just be an owner. Hell, I don’t care who he is.

Jon: Right.

Keyshawn: Right? When you look at the San Francisco Forty Niners, they didn’t have a problem hiring John Lynch, my former team mate, to be their general manager with zero experience in an up front office.

Jon: Right.

Keyshawn: Zero. How did they even come to that arrival? What made you come to that? Did you come to that because you talk to a handful of people that look like you in the league and they said he’d be a great general manager.

Jon: It comes that comfort, cultural comfort.

Keyshawn: Absolutely.

Jon: To to bring it all full circle. Then what happens to Gruden? Is he just the sacrificial lamb for this structural inequality and he goes away? Or does he come back? Or how does he –

Keyshawn: No he’s toast. He will. He’ll never coach again.

Jon: – Because he couldn’t get the respect of the people in the locker room?

Keyshawn: The world is different now man. This isn’t 20 years ago. You can’t. You can’t attack people the way you could have 20 years ago, you cannot do that. He’ll never coach again. He’ll never coach a college and his career is over. It’s unfortunate, but that’s the reality of it. A lot of people think, “Oh, he’ll be forgiven.” No, you that won’t happen because at that point, you will start to lose players and respectability from fan bases and you can’t have that happen.

Jon: Within the football world, how much sympathy is there for him in this situation? Do they view him as a victim or do they think he got what he got, what he got because that’s what he deserved?

Keyshawn: I think a lot of people will look at it both ways they’re trying to figure out, was he really a victim? Because what they’re trying to figure out was he thrown under the bus and run over to shed the light on him and not on them. And then also at the same time, when you speak that ill of people, you get what you deserve.

Jon: Right

Keyshawn: Because that is pure hate. You can’t do that, people can’t tolerate those things anymore. Because it hadn’t come to the surface and they have been doing it for longer than that. At their country clubs and the private yachts with their friends and flying on their jets with their friends and cracking jokes. It was fine until somebody actually said, “no, this is not acceptable.”

Jon: Till the rarefied air got punctured,

Keyshawn: And that’s what happens.

Jon: Well, I really appreciate Keyshawn. I know you’re busy, man, so taking the time to talk about it, really insightful and I thank you so much and I hope to get a chance to see you soon. And I hope you do get Woody Johnson on the phone and tell him how the Jets could win. But before you do that, if you could tell the Giants how to win, I’d really appreciate it.

[KEYSHAWN LAUGHS]

Keyshawn: Maybe I have to talk with Steve Tisch one day.

Jon: Keyshawn, thank you so much, man.

Keyshawn: All right, thank you.

[TRANSITION MUSIC]

Jon: All right, we got one more thing before we go. And then I think we’re going to have snacks. We are going to have we got one more segment. It’s Henrik Blix. You know, Henrik is a degenerate gambler. Did you guys know that?

Kris: No, never would have guessed.

Jon: If people knew Henrik, they’d be surprised. And because this is a football themed podcast, he’s going to do some some of your gambling tips for everybody.
[SOUND EFFECT]

Riks Tipz Segment

Henrik Blix: Welcome to Rikz Tipz!

[RIKZ TIPZ VOICE EFFECT]

Henrik: This week I’m giving you my top 4 NFL betting tips.

[INTENSE COUNTDOWN MUSIC STARTS]

Henrik: Brought to you by Wing Dungeon. Come get strapped to a chair on gameday while our torture team feeds you hotter and hotter wings every quarter. Wing Dungeon.

Henrik: So tip number 1 is to place your bets before the game starts.

Henrik: Tip #2 is brought to us courtesy of Dude Mortgage. Dude Mortage will help you find a sick spot with one folding chair and a TV.

Henrik: This tip is to make friends with the players and get tips from them.

Announcer: That’s a Rik tip!

Henrik: Tip #3 comes in courtesy of Viking Face. Skincare for guys who don’t give a F*** what they look like. I beat the betting markets every week because I don’t bet on teams, I bet on FIELDS. Do they use astroturf, grass, synthetic fibers? A few hours inside each stadium with a magnifying glass and a notebook to track soil conditions goes a long way. Tip #3, bet on the fields.

Announcer: You just got Rik’d in the tit!

Henrik: Tip #4 Is brought to you by PainDrink.

[SOUND OF BOTTLE OPENING]

Henrik: The only energy drink slash protein shake slash beer on the market guaranteed to leave you fuller, drunker, and angrier than you’ve ever been.

Henrik: My last tip: be yourself, everyone else is already taken.

Announcer: You just got tips all over your Rik!

[SEGMENT MUSIC OUTRO]

[SFX CUE]

Jon: And by the way, this is my favorite thing now in sports radio, which is every 30 seconds to like on Fan Duel, make a $5 bet on whether or not either basketball team will score and you’ll get one hundred and fifty dollars. At the end of that, they always do this. “If you’re having trouble gambling responsibly, call one 800 gambler. But obviously gamble responsibly.” All right everybody that is our podcast. Please, if you want to know more about it, go to the website at the problem dot com, you can head to that. We also have a newsletter. By the way, If you haven’t watched the television series, that’s not an issue. There’s actually a link to the show in the notes and you can go there. Everything I’m telling you right now could be completely wrong, by the way, but I believe in you, and I believe you are savvy enough to wade through my lack of specificity to know what to do if you’re still interested, and I hope you are still interested because I’m interested in you, although you’ve given me nothing to click on. And as always, Kay and Kris, it was a joy. It warmed my heart, it warmed old gramp’s heart. So thank you.

Kris: You’re welcome.

[OUTRO MUSIC]

Jon: The Problem with Jon Stewart podcast is an Apple TV+ podcast produced by Busboy Productions.

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