Gruden out as Raiders coach


Image courtesy of Creative Commons/Travis AFB

Jon Gruden at Raiders training camp. N.d.

ESPN’s Oct. 11 Monday Night Football coverage of the Baltimore Ravens vs. the Indianapolis Colts game was interrupted by breaking news that head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, Jon Gruden, has resigned.

His resignation came one day after The New York Times received a report containing emails from Gruden where he used what many said was racist, misogynisticand anti-gay language in multiple correspondences dating back to 2010.

These emails were discovered during a Washington Football Team investigation into workplace misconduct, and are among 650,000 obtained from various parties involved. Gruden had shared these emails with Washington’s former president, Bruce Allen, for over half a decade. Gruden—who left his position at ESPN in 2018 to return to coaching —used his personal email, while Allen used the team’s address.

In 2011, Gruden described DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the National Football League (NFL) Players Association, who is Black, with derogatory racial epithets. Allen and Gruden also repeatedly exchanged messages containing harmful language toward players, calling the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, a “F—-t and a clueless anti-football p—y” and that Goodell should not have “pressured” Jeff Fishers, the former Los Angeles Rams coach, to draft “queers,” a remark thought to refer to the team’s 2014 drafting of Michael Sam, who is gay.

Gruden shared emails with the co-founder of Hooters, Ed Droste, as well. In 2015 and 2017, Gruden and Droste exchanged photos of semi-nude women including two Washington Football Team cheerleaders. Droste shared a sexist meme of a female referee, to which Gruden replied, “Nice job roger.”

On Oct. 8, prior to the Raiders’ game against the Chicago Bears, Gruden said that he “did not remember sending the [emails],” and that he “never had a blade of racism in him.”
Raiders owner Mark Davis returned to the team’s facility Monday and met with the head coach; shortly thereafter, Gruden announced his resignation: “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.”

Rich Bisaccia, Las Vegas’ special teams coordinator, has been named interim head coach. On the Gruden matter, he said, “It’s just too much that was said. He owes lots of apologies.”

The Washington Football team concluded their internal investigation in July and handed their findings over to the NFL who have continued their own investigation into the matter. With Monday’s news, this will continue to be a developing story with a ripple effect across the league.