National Football League Drama

Michael Guido, Managing & Sports Editor

In professional sports, drama seems to be a thing that radiates with certain teams at certain times.

Examples would be the 2011 Boston Red Sox, the 2018-2020 Pittsburgh Steelers and the Chicago Bulls teams of the 1990s.

However, the drama that has engulfed the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders in just the 2021 season lone has been shocking and so sudden, I feel many sports fans haven’t had time to properly assess it.

In the span of a month, the Raiders dismissed their head coach, Jon Gruden, due to emails being leaked that exposed him sharing racist, homophobic and misogynistic sentiments he shared when he was an analyst from ESPN.

Despite Gruden’s sudden departure, the team seemed to rebound under the direction of interim head coach Rick  Bisaccia, winning their first two games under his guidance.

However, just as it seemed the drama was behind them, it returned in a dreadful way.

This past Tuesday, star second-year wide receiver Henry Ruggs III was involved in a fatal car crash in Las Vegas, where an impaired Ruggs, who was driving with twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system, collided with a vehicle; the collision set the other car ablaze, killing 23-year-old Tina Tintor and her dog.

In light of the incident, Ruggs was released by the Raiders and the situation leaves Ruggs, one of the most promising young stars in the league, facing a DUI charge, plus several felony and misdemeanor charges that could result in as long as a 46-year-long prison sentence for the 22-year-old receiver.

Then just on Monday, former 2020 first-round pick Damon Arnette was released by the team after video surfaced over the weekend of Arnette making death threats while showcasing firearms.

All this doesn’t even take into account the organization has been under scrutiny for tax irregularities that results in the team’s president being dismissed late last month.

Not surprisingly, this has taken a toll on the team.

Even though the Raiders still sit in first place in the AFC West with a 5-3 record, they are coming off a tough 23-16 loss to the New York Giants and have to face division rival Kansas City Chiefs Sunday.

Time will tell if they can move past the drama that has distracted this team all season, but no matter what, it has represented one of the strangest drama-riddled season we’ve seen recently in professional sports.