Gruden becomes the first head coach to resign mid-season since Bobby Petrino
Jon Gruden is officially out as the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. Gruden resigned Monday night after emails he wrote containing racist, misogynistic and homophobic content were brought to light.
A report by the Wall Street Journal last week marked the beginning of the end for Gruden. The report cited an email Gruden wrote back in 2011 during his time working for ESPN. The email contained racially insensitive content used to describe the face of NFL Player’s Association Director, DeMaurice Smith.
The NFL and the Raiders immediately released statements condemning Gruden’s comments.
“The email from Jon Gruden denigrating DeMaurice Smith is appalling, abhorrent and wholly contrary to the NFL’s values. We condemn the statement and regret any harm that its publication may inflict on Mr. Smith or anyone else,” said a league spokesperson
In the days following Gruden apologized and implored, “I’m not a racist.” Many awaited to see if the Raiders or the league would take action. None ended up being necessary after reports surfaced Monday of emails written by Gruden where the now former coach used homophobic slurs to describe NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, made fun of the NFL for hiring female referees and attacked Goodell for pressuring Jeff Fisher and the Rams into drafting Michael Sam, the league’s first openly gay athlete.
Gruden’s resignation was released by the Raiders on social media in a statement saying, “I have resigned as Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction. Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff and fans of Raider Nation. I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone.”
Raiders owner Marc Davis announced he accepted Gruden’s resignation. Las Vegas special team’s coordinator Rich Bisaccia was elevated to interim head coach of the team.
Gruden’s resignation comes in the fourth year of the 10-year, $100 million contact he signed with the Raiders’ organization back in 2018.
Many of the email exchanges were sent between Gruden and former Washington Football Team general manager Bruce Allen. This gives some insight into what appears to be a larger problem for the NFL.
If two high profile NFL figures can exchange messages containing such inflammatory content for years that fly under the radar, who knows what else is being said or exchanged behind closed doors that may never come to light.
On the morning of Oct. 4, the Raiders woke up with a 3-0 record and were being lauded as one of the league’s best teams. Now, less than two weeks later, the Raiders are 3-2, have lost their head coach and are being talked about for all the wrong reasons.
Moving forward it will be interesting to see how former colleagues and players react to the information that just came to light.
Former NFL wide receiver Keshawn Johnson spoke out on his ESPN morning show on Tuesday saying, “My concentration ain’t only you talk bad about a Black man, you also talking bad about people that own teams, run the league, the commissioner of the league — because he’s a bad person.”
Johnson, who won a Super Bowl with Gruden with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, also called Gruden a “fraud” and “used car salesman.”
The Buccaneers organization has also already taken the steps to remove Gruden from the team’s Ring of Honor.
What’s next for Gruden? Who knows? Or more aptly, who cares? The man has made his millions and was part of the NFL limelight for over two decades. One things for certain, we will never see him call or coach another NFL game again.