Las Vegas Raiders Jon Gruden steps down as head coach after racist & homophobic emails uncovered

There was no way he could sidestep the issue so, the Las Vegas Raiders Jon Gruden resigned from his position as head coach yesterday, October 11. His resignation comes after some of his emails were leaked in which he committed the gambit of social crimes including using homophobic, racist and misogynistic language. The shocking bit is that he did all this while he was an ESPN analyst.

He of course apologised for his action but there’s no doubt that the damage has already been done to his career. Part of his resignation read “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.” 

Before this statement was made he was also quoted saying, “All I can say is that I’m not a racist. He continued: “I can’t tell you how sick I am. I apologize again to De Smith, but I feel good about who I am and what I’ve done my entire life. I apologize for the insensitive remarks. I had no racial intentions with those remarks at all.”

The story about his behaviour was revealed by The Wall Street Journal last Friday, October 8. The Raiders owner Mark Davis used the social media site, Twitter to accept the resignation.  Gruden had been the coach of the Raiders since 2018.

The accusations 

According to the report, the former head coach used racially insensitive language to describe NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith in a 2011 email. Another source that posted more of the emails, the New York Times, noted that it also found evidence that Gruden had a problem with women being employed as on-field officials. He also criticised a team that openly drafted an openly gay player, and did not agree with teams that supported national anthem protesters.

Gruden was not even the subject of the original investigation which was initiated by The Times as the company sought to get a deeper understanding of workplace misconduct at the Washington Football Team. The emails in question, that were uncovered, spanned a seven year period and were sent to Bruce Allen, the Washington team’s then-president. He was fired in  December of 2019.

In one of the emails, Gruden called NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a “p*ssy” and a “f*ggot,”. In another, he called Michael Sam a “queer” just after the player was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in 2014. His view was that the coach should not have been pressured into hiring someone who is gay. 

The fallout reporter and analyst Ian Rapoport spoke with CNN and shared his two cents on the matter.

“How would he stand up in the middle of the room and lead this group of men, with several people in that locker room knowing that, privately, he makes fun of them or is against them?” Rapoport said on CNN’s “New Day.”

He added: “It could not work. That partially explains why Jon Gruden resigned to owner Mark Davis and then to his staff last night.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell received the emails last week. Since then league spokesman Brian McCarthy has also spoken out about the incident. 

“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,” he said.

Until a new head coach is found Rich Bisaccia, the Raiders’ special teams coordinator and assistant head coach, will be the interim head coach. It is a remarkable fall from grace for Gruden, who was one of the NFL’s highest-paid coaches, having signed a 10-year, $100 million contract with the Raiders.