NFL boss leaves team after emails emerge calling Biden a ‘p*ssy’, using racist, homophobic and misogynistic terms
2003 Super Bowl winner Gruden's exit comes after the New York Times reported on Monday that the 58-year-old allegedly used misogynistic and homophobic language in numerous emails over a seven-year period.
The report came days after 10-year-old emails sent by Gruden surfaced which included an attack on the president, a remark that could have been construed as racist about the NFL Players Association' executive director, DeMaurice Smith and a vulgar criticism of the league's commissioner, Roger Goodell.
"I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction," said Gruden, who had been in charge of the team since 2018, in a statement.
"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."Jon Gruden— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) October 12, 2021
"Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff, and fans of Raider Nation. I'm sorry – I never meant to hurt anyone."
The Times says that Gruden allegedly sent emails to Bruce Allen, who was then the Washington Football Team's president, and others between 2011 and 2018.
On one occasion, he reportedly emailed Allen and told him that Goodell should not have put pressure on then-St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher to sign "queers" in the draft, which is considered to have referred to ex-defensive end and openly gay player Michael Sam, who joined in 2014.
Gruden "said that Goodell should not have pressured Jeff Fisher, then the coach of the Rams, to draft “queers,” a reference to Michael Sam, a gay player chosen by the team in 2014." Here's the photo included in the NYT story - Gruden & DE Carl Nassib, who came out in June. pic.twitter.com/G7byy6PYwt— Michele Steele (@MicheleSteele) October 12, 2021
Gruden reportedly used the anti-gay slur "f*ggot" to refer to Goodell, who he also called a "clueless anti-football pussy", and described some owners, members of the press and coaches with offensive language.
In one of the emails, he is said to have called for the dismissal of Eric Reid, one of the first players to join Black Lives Matter champion Colin Kaepernick in kneeling during the national anthem in protest at police brutality.
Gruden also reportedly called then-Vice-President Joe Biden a “nervous, clueless pussy” and shared photos of women donning only bikini bottoms.
The franchise's owner, Mark Davis released a curt statement of his own saying he has accepted Gruden's resignation.
ESPN, who Gruden was representing as an analyst when he sent the emails, released a statement describing the comments as "clearly repugnant under any circumstance".
In 2011, Gruden is said to have used rough language to refer to a handful of franchise owners involved in the labor dispute that led to a lockout.
🧵 The email from Jon Gruden – and some of the reaction to it – confirms that the fight against racism, racist tropes and intolerance is not over. This is not about an email as much as it is about a pervasive belief by some that people who look like me can be treated as less.— DeMaurice Smith (@demauricesmith) October 11, 2021
The email has also revealed why the comments by some with powerful platforms to explain this away are insidious and hypocritical. It is as if there is a need to protect football above the values of equality, inclusion and respect.— DeMaurice Smith (@demauricesmith) October 11, 2021
On Friday, The Wall Street Journal relayed how Gruden allegedly said to Allen that NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith had "lips the size of Michelin tires".
Gruden claimed to ESPN that he regularly used the term "rubber lips" in order to "refer to a guy I catch as lying... he can't spit it out."
"I'm ashamed I insulted [Smith]," Gruden insisted. "I never had a racial thought when I used it. I'm embarrassed by what's out there. I certainly never meant for it to sound that bad."
The powerful in our business have to embrace that football itself has to be better, as opposed to making excuses to maintain the status quo.— DeMaurice Smith (@demauricesmith) October 11, 2021
I appreciate that he reached out to me & I told him that we will connect soon, but make no mistake, the news is not about what is said in our private conversation, but what else is said by people who never thought they would be exposed and how they are going to be held to account— DeMaurice Smith (@demauricesmith) October 11, 2021
Addressing the matter himself, Smith said on Twitter that "the email from Jon Gruden – and some of the reaction to it – confirms that the fight against racism, racist tropes and intolerance is not over.
"This is not about an email as much as it is about a pervasive belief by some that people who look like me can be treated as less," he added.
Assistant coach Rich Bisaccia will replace Gruden by becoming interim head coach and is expected to address the media tomorrow, leading a team with a 3-2 record after five weeks of the season.
Before taking over at the Raiders in 2018, Gruden, who also coached them between 1998 and 2001 and won the Super Bowl against them in 2003 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was a lead analyst for ESPN on Monday Night Football.
Gruden's emails emerged as the NFL conducted an investigation into misconduct in the work place in Washington, when the league "was informed of the existence of emails that raised issues beyond the scope of that investigation," as confirmed by NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy.
The content of 650,000 emails was reviewed by senior league executives, including the messages reported by the Wall Street Journal to have been written by Gruden to Allen.
"No comment on that." - #Raiders DE Yannick Ngakoue, when asked about Jon Gruden's emails, specifically about the black players' response.— Paul Gutierrez (@PGutierrezESPN) October 10, 2021
By stepping aside, Gruden gives up a 10-year contract which was set to pay him a reported $100 million.
Gruden coached an openly gay player in defensive end Carl Nassib, who in June became the first active NFL star to come out, and told ESPN about the star: “I learned a long time ago what makes a man different is what makes him great.”
Speaking before his resignation, Gruden said: "I can't tell you how sick I am. I apologize again to De Smith but I feel good about what I have done my entire life.
"I apologize for the insensitive remarks. I had no racial intentions with those remarks at all. I'm not like that at all.Also on rt.com ‘It’s ruining her life’: Mother of girl in viral party clip with NFL coach Meyer concerned about daughter’s wellbeing (VIDEO)
"I can't remember a lot of things that happened 10 or 12 years ago but I stand here, in front of everybody, apologizing.
"I know I don't have an ounce of racism in me. I'm a guy who takes pride in leading people together and I'll continue to do that for the rest of my life."
Quarterback Derek Carr said he believed that Gruden did not have "a racist bone" in him, and running back Josh Jacobs, who is black, said that the coach had "never rubbed me a certain way, that type of way" during their three-year working relationship.
“I mean, what he said is what he said at the end of the day, too. But I mean, I definitely trust him. I mean, it was 10 years ago. People grow.”
When Raiders pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue was asked how Black players on the team felt about the emails, he replied: “No comment”.Also on rt.com NFL star arrested for driving under the influence and leaving the scene of a crash after accident in Florida – media