John Gruden stepped down Monday as coach of the Las Vegas Raiders football team hours after the New York Times detailed the letters in which he made homophobic and misogynistic remarks, following an earlier report of racist remarks against the union leader …
His retirement was a spectacular departure from the football league for the Super Bowl-winning coach, lead analyst on ESPN, and returned to the NFL in 2018 to lead the resurgent Raiders he coached many years ago.
“I resigned as head coach of Las Vegas,” he said on Twitter. in team statement… “I love Raiders and don’t want to be distracted. Thanks to all Raider Nation players, coaches, staff and fans. Sorry, I never wanted to offend anyone. “
Mark Davis, owner of the Raiders, said in a statement that he accepted the resignation. According to the team, Rich Bisaccia, the coordinator of the Raiders’ special teams, has been appointed as interim head coach.
Gruden’s departure comes after the New York Times reported that NFL officials, in a separate workplace misconduct investigation that did not directly concern him, found Gruden negligent and frequently used misogyny and homophobic language over the years to vilify people around the game and to laugh at some of the big league changes.
According to emails reviewed by The Times, he denounced the appearance of women as judges, the choice of a gay player, and the tolerance of players protesting during the national anthem.
Gruden’s messages were sent to Bruce Allen, the former president of the Washington football team, and others while he worked for ESPN as a color analyst on Monday Night Football. In emails, Gruden called league commissioner Roger Goodell a “fagot” and “goofy anti-football pussy,” and said Goodell shouldn’t have pressured Jeff Fischer, then coach of the Rams, to get the fagots draft. a reference to Michael Sam, the gay player chosen by the team in 2014.
In numerous emails over the seven-year period ending in early 2018, Gruden criticized Goodell and the league for trying to reduce concussions and said that Eric Reid, the player who showed up during the national anthem, should be fired. On several occasions, Gruden has used homophobic insults to refer to Goodell and offensive language to describe some of the NFL owners, coaches, and journalists who cover the league.
Gruden, Allen, the NFL, and the Raiders did not respond to requests for comment.
Although Gruden was not on the team at the time, he still had league influence and was in high demand as a coach. He won the Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the 2002 season. And in 2018, he was hired for a second term as head coach for the Raiders franchise, which includes quarterback Karl Nasib, the first active NFL player to publicly declare he is gay.
The league said last week that it shared emails with the Raiders in which Gruden made derogatory comments.
Gruden told ESPN on Sunday that the league looked at emails criticizing Goodell and explained that he was upset by a player lockout by the team owners in 2011 when some emails were written. Gruden said in this interview that he used a swear word to address Goodell, and that he did so because he disapproved of Goodell’s emphasis on safety, which he believed scared parents away by forcing their sons to retire from football.
But Gruden’s behavior wasn’t limited to 2011. Gruden exchanged emails with Allen and other men, including photos of women wearing only bikini bottoms, including one photo of two Washington team cheerleaders.
Gruden also criticized President Obama during his 2012 re-election campaign, as well as then-Vice President Joseph R. Biden, whom Gruden called “a nervous goofy pussy.” He used similar words to describe Goodell and DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players’ Association.
The League is already investigating Gruden as a result of another email he wrote to Allen in 2011 in which he used racist terms to describe Smith as Black.
In this letter, Gruden, who was white at the time and worked for ESPN, criticized Smith’s intelligence and used a racist image 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 provide an unadorned look at the club culture of one NFL peer group, where white male decision makers felt comfortable sharing pornographic images, poking fun at league politics, and jokingly sharing homophobic language.
Their banter runs counter to the league’s public condemnation of racism and sexism and its promises to be more inclusive, amid criticism for not listening to the concerns of black players, which make up about 70 percent of rosters. In the past, the NFL has struggled to discipline personnel who commit domestic violence and have been convicted of failing to adequately deal with harassment of women, including NFL cheerleaders.
The League, Smith, and Davis denounced Gruden’s comments about Smith when they surfaced, but the coach was still leading his team in Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears. On Friday, Gruden said he had no recollection of sending the email and that his language had “gone too far,” adding, “I never had the edge of racism in me.”
Gruden’s emails to Allen, who was fired by the Washington DC football team in late 2019, were dealt with as part of an NFL franchise workplace misconduct investigation that ended this summer. Goodell has instructed the league to review more than 650,000 emails in the past few months, including those in which Gruden made offensive remarks. Goodell received a summary of his findings last week, and the league sent several letters Gruden wrote to the Raiders.
When exchanging messages, Gruden used his personal email account, while Allen wrote from his team account. On some occasions, Allen initiated conversations and Gruden intervened, while on other occasions they exchanged vulgar comments multiple times.
Some of the letters between Gruden and Allen also included business friends, Ed Drost, co-founder of Hooters; Jim McVeigh, executive director of the Outback Bowl held annually in Tampa, Florida; and Nick Reader, founder of PDQ Restaurants, a fried chicken franchise in Tampa. The exchanges began back in 2010, when Gruden was an analyst for Monday Night Football. In 2018, he signed a 10-year, $ 100 million contract to train the Raiders.
Droste, McVeigh, and Reeder did not respond to requests for comment.
Gruden and Allen are longtime friends and colleagues. Allen was the senior executive of 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 defeated the Raiders in the Super Bowl. that season. Allen became general manager there in 2004. Allen and Gruden left the Buccaneers after the 2008 season. While Gruden switched to broadcast from ESPN, Allen became general manager in Washington in 2010 and then president of the team.
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 an exclusive network that cycles between NFL teams. networks and companies affiliated with the league.
In June, the NFL congratulated Nasib after he became the first active NFL player to publicly declare that he is gay. Goodell said he was “proud of Karl for courageously sharing his truth today. Representation matters. “
Privately, Allen and Gruden seemed to have no boundaries in expressing homophobic and transphobic languages. In one email from 2015 that includes Droste, McVeigh and others, Gruden rudely asked Allen to give him oral sex with Brian Glazer, whose family owns the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where Gruden coached until 2008. Allen said Glazer would “accept your offer.”
Allen and Gruden also bullied Kaitlyn Jenner, who received an ESPN award in 2015 after switching.
In an email from 2015, Allen and Gruden criticized a congressional bill to force the Washington franchise to change its name, which the team stopped using last year. Again using the vulgar term, Gruden took aim at Goodell and his staff, although the commissioner initially defended the team’s right to keep the name.
In 2017, Droste shared a sexist meme about a female referee with the group, to which Gruden replied, “Nice job, Roger.”
That same year, Gruden received a link to an article about NFL players urging Goodell to support their efforts to promote racial equality and criminal justice reform. Gruden gave Goodell some advice:
“He needs to hide in a tent for the concussion protocol,” he wrote.