Jon Gruden Resigns as Raiders Head Coach Amid Racist Email Scandal
In SummaryA 2011 email sent by current Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden mocked the lips and intelligence of current NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith.
UPDATE: Oct. 11 9:01 p.m. ET
In a shocking turn of events, Jon Gruden told the Las Vegas Raiders organization that he is resigning as head coach, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
He released a statement shortly after the news broke.
“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,” Gruden said.
This news comes after a new investigation uncovered by the New York Times revealed that he had been using misogynistic and homophobic language in emails for years. Three days prior, the Wall Street Journal reported that Gruden said offensive things against NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith.
Smith tweeted, “The email from Jon Gruden – and some of the reaction to it – confirms that the fight against racism, racist tropes and intolerance is not over. This is not about an email as much as it is about a pervasive belief by some that people who look like me can be treated as less.”
After back-to-back losses, the Las Vegas Raiders are gambling with their present and future with Jon Gruden as their head coach.
Gruden has been under heavy scrutiny after the surfacing of a 2011 email containing racist remarks that also attacked the intelligence of current NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith.
The 2011 email was an exchange between Gruden and Bruce Allen, who was then the chairman of the Washington football team.
“Dumboris Smith’s lips are the size of Michelin tires,” Gruden wrote of Smith, who is Black.
Gruden was hesitant to respond to questions after the Raiders’ 20-9 loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday. He also said, “I’m not going to answer all these questions today.”
“I’m not a racist,” Gruden said. “I can’t tell you how sick I am. I apologize again to De Smith, but I feel good about who I am and what I’ve done my entire life. … I had no racial intention with those remarks at all. I’m not like that at all. I apologize. I don’t want to keep addressing it.”
Gruden received numerous questions about the email and said the NFL has not contacted him.
“I’m not going to answer all these questions today,” Gruden said. “I think I’ve addressed it already. I can’t remember a lot of the things that transpired 10 or 12 years ago, but I stand here in front of everybody apologizing. I know I don’t have an ounce of racism in me. I’m a guy that takes pride in leading people together, and I’ll continue to do that for the rest of my life.”
Hall of Fame wide receiver and ESPN analyst Randy Moss played for the Raiders during his time in the NFL, but he did not play for Gruden. He addressed Gruden’s comments in an emotional speech during NFL Sunday Countdown, putting the onus on the NFL.
Raiders’ legend Charles Woodson, who played for Gruden for four years, said he doesn’t believe his former coach is racist.
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said he and other players were shocked after hearing Gruden’s comments. Carr said Gruden addressed the issue with the team and gave his side of the story in a team meeting.
“He was honest,” Carr said. “He was up-front with it, and us as a team were like, ‘Yeah, coach, it was 10 years ago. We love you, man. We’ve got your back.’… He told us, ‘Men, learn from my mistake.’ I don’t want to get into detail with what he said to us, but when we left that meeting, we didn’t take it as how it came out.”
Here’s what others around the league said about Gruden: