Jon Gruden, the former coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, abruptly resigned on October 11, 2021, following the release of another round of racist, sexist, and homophobic emails transmitted between 2010-2018, which were discovered as part of a workplace misconduct investigation into the Washington Football Team, including president Bruce Allen by the NFL.
Gruden, a two-time coach of the Raiders, was already under fire following remarks he made against NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith in a 2011 email which was released over the weekend by the Wall Street Journal. “Dumboriss Smith has lips the size of michellin (sic) tires,” Gruden stated in the email regarding Smith.
These new emails, however, were just as damning, making it nearly untenable for Gruden to remain coach of the Raiders. Gruden attacked everyone from the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, to former President Barack Obama and others in colorful and hateful language which included multiple racist, sexist, and homophobic slurs. At the time the emails were sent by Gruden to Allen, Gruden was not working in any capacity for the NFL, however, he was the color commentator for ESPN’s Monday Night Football.
Gruden attempted to clarify his remarks regarding Smith, which was published over the weekend, stating, “I was in a bad frame of mind at the time (in 2011), and I called Roger Goodell a (expletive) in one of these emails too,” he told ESPN. “They were keeping players and coaches from doing what they love with a lockout. There also were a lot of things being reported publicly about the safety of the sport that I love. I was on a mission with high school football (in the Tampa, Fla., area) during that time, and there were a lot of parents who were scared about letting their kids play football. It just didn’t sit well with me.”
Per the New York Times, Gruden often called NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a “f—t” and a “clueless anti football p—y.” He further used homophobic slurs to describe NFL owners, coaches and reporters who cover the league. In the 2012 presidential election, Gruden called then-vice president Joe Biden a “nervous clueless p—y.”
In 2015, Gruden condemned a congressional bill that attempted to force Washington to change its name from the Redskins, which many Native Americans view as a slur. Also, per the Times article, Gruden criticized Goodell for pressuring then- St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher to draft “q—rs.” That was a reference to Michael Sam, who came out as openly gay ahead of the 2014 NFL Draft and was selected with the Rams’ seventh round pick. Gruden also singled out individuals as targets of his hateful language. That included Caitlyn Jenner, whom Gruden mocked in 2015.
Gruden also asked Allen in the emails to tell Bryan Glazer, part of the ownership family of the Buccaneers, to perform oral sex on him. According to Gruden, Eric Reid, who knelt to protest racial inequality should be “fired” and Goodell should “hide in his concussion protocols tent” rather than help players promote criminal justice reform. Gruden coached Tampa Bay from 2002 through 2008 in addition to his two-time stint with the Raiders.
Upon Monday’s emails being uncovered, and, ironically just prior to the Monday Night Football broadcast, the very one he was a part of for multiple years, Gruden issued and tendered his resignation putting forth a generic press release stating, “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.”
The Raiders issued a statement Monday prior to the additional emails being leaked saying, “The content of an email regarding DeMaurice Smith from Jon Gruden when he worked for ESPN 10 years ago is disturbing and not what the Raiders stand for. We were first made aware of the email late yesterday by a reporter and are reviewing it along with other materials provided to us today by the NFL. We are addressing the matter with Coach Gruden and will have no further comment at this time.”
Similarly, the NFL also issued a statement on the comments made by Gruden about Smith stating, “The email from Jon Gruden denigrating DeMaurice Smith is appalling, abhorrent and wholly contrary to the NFL’s values. We condemn the statement and regret any harm that its publication may inflict on Mr. Smith or anyone else.”