Jon Gruden quits after homophobic, mysogynous comments
Jon Gruden on Monday resigned his job as coach of the Las Vegas Raiders football team hours after the New York Times detailed emails in which he made homophobic and misogynistic remarks, following a ” a previous report of racist statements about a union leader.
His resignation was a stark departure from the football league for a coach who had won a Super Bowl, been a renowned analyst on ESPN and returned to the NFL in 2018 to lead the resurgent Raiders, whom he had coached years before. .
“I have resigned my job as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders,” he said on Twitter. in a press release published by the team. “I love the Raiders and I don’t want to be a distraction. Thank you to all Raider Nation players, coaches, staff and fans. I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone.
Mark Davis, the owner of the Raiders, said in a press release that he had accepted the resignation. Rich Bisaccia, the Raiders’ special teams coordinator, has been promoted to interim head coach, the team said.
Gruden’s departure came after a New York Times report that NFL officials, as part of a separate investigation into workplace misconduct that did not directly involve him, discovered that Gruden had casually and frequently unleashed misogynistic and homophobic language for several years to disparage people around the game and to poke fun at some of the big league changes.
He denounced the emergence of women as referees, the enlistment of a gay player and the tolerance of players demonstrating during the performance of the national anthem, according to emails reviewed by The Times.
Gruden’s messages were sent to Bruce Allen, the former president of the Washington football team, and others, while working for ESPN as a color analyst during “Monday Night Football” . In the emails, Gruden called league commissioner Roger Goodell a “queer” and “ignorant anti-football pussy” and said Goodell shouldn’t have pressured then Rams coach Jeff Fisher, to write “queers”, a reference to Michael Sam, a gay player chosen by the team in 2014.
In numerous emails over a seven-year period ending in early 2018, Gruden criticized Goodell and the league for trying to reduce concussions and said Eric Reid, a player who protested during the national anthem, should be dismissed. In several instances, Gruden has used homophobic slurs to refer to Goodell and offensive language to describe some NFL owners, coaches and reporters who cover the league.
Gruden, Allen, the NFL and the Raiders did not respond to requests for comment.
Although not part of a team at the time, Gruden was still influential in the league and highly coveted as a coach. He had won a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the 2002 season. And in 2018, he was hired for his second stint as head coach of the Raiders franchise, which includes defensive lineman Carl Nassib. , the first active NFL player to publicly declare he is gay.
The league said last week it was sharing emails with the Raiders in which Gruden made derogatory comments.
Gruden told ESPN on Sunday that the league was reviewing emails in which he criticized Goodell, and explained that he was upset by the lockdown of players by team owners in 2011, when some of the emails went off. been written. Gruden said in this interview that he used an expletive to refer to Goodell and did so because he disapproved of Goodell’s emphasis on safety, which he said frightened parents. so that they distract their sons from football.
But Gruden’s behavior was not limited to 2011. Gruden exchanged emails with Allen and other men that included pictures of women wearing only bikini bottoms, including a photo of two cheerleaders from the Washington team.
Gruden also criticized President Obama during his reelection campaign in 2012, as well as then Vice President Joseph R. Biden, whom Gruden called “a nervous and clueless cat.” He used similar words to describe Goodell and DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFL Players Association.
The league is already investigating Gruden following another email he wrote to Allen in 2011 in which he used racist terms to describe Smith, who is black.
In this email, Gruden, who is white and worked for ESPN at the time, criticized Smith’s intelligence and used a racist trope to describe his face. The correspondence was first reported by The Wall Street Journal and confirmed by The New York Times.
Taken together, the emails offer an unvarnished glimpse into the clubby culture of a circle of NFL peers, where white male decision makers felt comfortable sharing pornography, poking fun at politics of the league and jokingly share homophobic language.
Their jokes go against the league’s public denunciations of racism and sexism and its promises to be more inclusive amid critics for not listening to the concerns of black players, who make up around 70% of the rosters. In the past, the NFL has struggled to discipline staff who have committed acts of domestic violence and have been convicted of failing to adequately deal with harassment of women, including NFL cheerleaders.
The league, Smith and Davis all denounced Gruden’s comments about Smith when they surfaced, but the coach still led his team in their game against the Chicago Bears on Sunday. Gruden said on Friday that he had no recollection of sending the email and that his language “went too far”, adding: “I never had a blade of racism in me.”
Emails from Gruden to Allen, who was fired by the Washington football team in late 2019, came under scrutiny as part of an NFL investigation into workplace misconduct within the franchise that is over this summer. Goodell has asked league officials to check more than 650,000 emails in the past few months, including those in which Gruden made offensive remarks. Last week Goodell received a summary of their findings and the league sent the Raiders some of the emails Gruden wrote.
In the exchanges, Gruden used his personal email account while Allen wrote from his team account. In some cases Allen started the conversations and Gruden stepped in, while in other cases they exchange vulgar comments multiple times.
Some of the emails between Gruden and Allen also included business friends, Ed Droste, the co-founder of Hooters; Jim McVay, an executive who ran the Outback Bowl, which is held annually in Tampa, Florida; and Nick Reader, the founder of PDQ Restaurants, a Tampa-based fried chicken franchise. The exchanges began in 2010 when Gruden was an analyst for “Monday Night Football”. In 2018, he signed a 10-year, $ 100 million contract to coach the Raiders.
Droste, McVay and Reader did not respond to requests for comment.
Gruden and Allen are longtime friends and colleagues. Allen was a senior manager with the Raiders from 1995 to 2003, when he worked with Gruden, who was the team’s head coach from 1998 to 2001. Gruden became head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002 and beat the Raiders in the Super Bowl. this season. Allen became its general manager in 2004. Allen and Gruden both left the Buccaneers after the 2008 season. While Gruden moved to a broadcast role with ESPN, Allen became general manager in Washington in 2010 and later. the team president.
Allen, who is the son of legendary NFL coach George Allen, and Gruden – whose father coached at Notre Dame and whose brother Jay was head coach in Washington from 2014 to 2019 – are part of a exclusive network that tours NFL teams, league affiliate networks and businesses.
In June, the NFL praised Nassib after he became the first active NFL player to publicly declare he is gay. Goodell said he was “proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today. Representation matters.
In private, Allen and Gruden seemed to have few limits in expressing homophobic and transphobic language. In a 2015 email that includes Droste, McVay and others, Gruden roughly asked Allen to tell Bryan Glazer, whose family owns the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where Gruden coached until 2008, to give him a shot. fellatio. Allen said Glazer “would accept this offer”.
Allen and Gruden also poked fun at Caitlyn Jenner, who received an ESPN award in 2015 after her transition.
In a 2015 email, Allen and Gruden criticized a Congressional bill to force the Washington franchise to change its name, which the team stopped using last year. Using a vulgar term again, Gruden took aim at Goodell and his staff even though the commissioner had initially defended the team’s right to retain the name.
In 2017, Droste shared with the group a sexist meme of a female referee to which Gruden replied: “Nice job roger.”
That same year, Gruden received a link to an article on NFL players calling on Goodell to support their efforts for racial equality and criminal justice reform. Gruden had a tip for Goodell:
“He has to hide in his concussion protocol tent,” he wrote.