Jon Gruden’s time as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders has unceremoniously come to an end.
Gruden informed his coaching staff he was resigning as the head man after e-mails surfaced of him making derogatory comments towards members of the LGBTQ+ community and DeMaurice Smith, the labor head of the NFL’s Players Association.
On Friday (October 8), a bombshell report in The New York Times revealed e-mails Gruden sent regarding Smith and others he sent to former Washington Football Team president Bruce Allen over seven years concluding in 2018.
Gruden emailed Allen regarding NFL commissioner Roger Goddell of how Goddell shouldn’t have pressured then-Rams head coach Jeff Fisher to draft “queers,” referring to former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam, who in 2014 was the first gay player to be drafted into the NFL, according to The Times. The Times also reported Gruden used inflammatory slurs in several instances when referring to Goddell and used offensive language to describe select owners, coaches and media members.
The Wall Street Journal was the first to report Gruden’s e-mails about Smith as the former Bucs head coach and ESPN analyst said Smith had “lips the size of Michelin tires.”
After Gruden confirmed the emails, he apologized for his comments and said he routinely used the term “rubber lips” to “refer to a guy I catch as lying … he can’t spit it out.”
“I’m ashamed I insulted De Smith. I never had a racial thought when I used it,” Gruden told ESPN. “I’m embarrassed by what’s out there. I certainly never meant for it to sound that bad.”
Gruden’s e-mails became public knowledge following the league’s investigation into workplace misconduct with the Washington Football Team. According to NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy, “the league was informed of the existence of emails that raised issues beyond the scope of that investigation. In total, league executives reviewed more than 650,000 emails, including the one written by Gruden to Allen regarding Smith.
Other pertinent emails were sent from the league to the Raiders for further review.
The emails came to light during the NFL’s investigation into workplace misconduct with Washington, as “the league was informed of the existence of emails that raised issues beyond the scope of that investigation,” according to NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy. Senior league executives reviewed the content of more than 650,000 emails, including the one the Journal reported was written by Gruden to Allen. The NFL sent pertinent emails to the Raiders for review.
The 58-year-old Gruden was in the fourth year of a 10-year, $100 million tenure with Las Vegas. It was his second stint with the team after he coached them from 1998 to 2001. He was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and won Super Bowl XXXVIII against his former team, 48-21.