Jon Gruden had no choice but to leave.
Gruden’s emails that contained racist, homophobic, and misogynistic remarks were unconstitutional in a league where messages like “It Takes All of Us”, “End Racism” and other slogans are etched into every end zone of the league.
Gruden, the coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, announced his resignation on Monday night. He said that he loved the Raiders and did not want to become a distraction. Thanks to all of the Raider Nation players, coaches, staff and fans. Sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt anyone.
Booger McFarland, ESPN football analyst, said that Gruden’s departure was the only solution to the quagmire of Gruden’s own making. The NFL has made too many progresses of late for Gruden not to keep his job and reverse that evolution.
McFarland stated, “This was something that had to occur.” McFarland said that he could not deny this. This is when you are going against the NFL’s will. The stickers are on the helmets of the players and have phrases written in the end zone. Stop Hate. It takes all of us. We want to inspire change. Jon Gruden promotes these very same things through his emails.
Gruden’s swift fall began Friday, when The Wall Street Journal reported Gruden used a racist term in an email to Bruce Allen, describing DeMaurice Smith, the NFL union chief, as a description of Smith, who is Black.
Gruden could have survived if it had ended there.
Derek Carr, Raiders quarterback, said that he was shocked by Gruden’s racist remarks but supported his coach after Sunday’s 20-9 loss to Chicago.
Carr stated that Gruden discussed the issue in a team meeting, and that he shared his story with the group the morning before the story broke. It was a very open exchange and we as a team were like: “Yeah coach, it was 10 Years ago.” We love you, man. “We’re here for you.
Gruden maintained Sunday that he was not racist and admitted that he was sickened at the controversy he had created. He also apologized to Smith.
Gruden stated, “But I feel good regarding who I am and the things I’ve done all my life,” adding that he hadn’t been contacted directly by the NFL about the racist comment but that “we’ll be seeing what happens here in a few days.”
Another bombshell was revealed by the New York Times late Monday. Gruden used homophobic and misogynistic language directed at Commissioner Roger Goodell, and other league officials.
The emails were confirmed by a league source who said that they were sent to Raiders last Wednesday. Because the league has not made the emails public, the source spoke under the condition of anonymity.
Gruden was seen denouncing the draft of a gay player as well as the tolerance of players who protest racial injustices and misconduct by police during the playing the national anthem. The report was made during “Monday Night Football”, a telecast that Gruden hosted.
Also, he used a gay slur in an attack on Goodell. He also said that the Rams shouldn’t have forced them to draft “queers.” This is a reference to Michael Sam who was the first openly homosexual player to be drafted by an NFL team.
Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib, who is openly gay, came out in June as he was gay. He is the first openly homosexual player to play in an NFL game.
In an email from 2017, the Times stated that Gruden replied to a sexist comment made by a female official with the following: “Nice Job Roger.” Gruden also criticized Goodell’s efforts to reduce concussions and suggested Eric Reid, a player who protested during the playing the national anthem, should have his job fired. The newspaper also mocked an article published in 2017 where players called on Goodell for support in their efforts to promote racial equality and criminal Justice reform.
The job of NFL head coaches is to deal with the consequences when a player does or says something that’s not right. A bad decision on the field can cause a lot of attention and even a distraction for the team.
This makes crisis management just as important as planning for the opponent’s next game.
Gruden and Urban Meyer have reversed these roles in 2021.
Meyer was forced to defend the winless Jacksonville Jaguars after their rookie coach made a mistake and missed their flight from Cincinnati earlier in the month. Meyer was caught on camera having a party like a college student with embarrassing videos quickly spreading online.
Meyer had to apologize three days in succession for his “inexcusable behavior” at an Ohio bar the weekend before. Meyer said that several former players offered their support while he tried to make amends. “I had at most eight to ten phone calls where they called and they were extremely supportive and said, “We got you, man.” “Move on.” A common refrain was, “Coach, we did all do stupid things.”
Meyer’s mess is nothing compared to Gruden’s fracas, which escalated into a split against the Raiders just 24 hours after Gruden’s players voted for him as their head coach.
Meyer, a newcomer to the NFL, hasn’t received much public support from ex-pro players or coaches. However, Gruden was supported by many people with endorsements well before the extent of his misdeeds were revealed.
Tony Dungy, an NBC analyst, said that he had never heard of Meyer as a head coach leaving his team on a flight to return home. Gruden offered both harsh words and grace.
Jon Gruden’s email was definitely inappropriate, insensitive and immature. Dungy stated that he thought he had attacked the character of man during Sunday’s Bills-Chiefs rain delay. He later apologized. He claimed it was not racially motivated. He is trustworthy. This was a 10 year ago incident. He apologized, and we should accept his apology and move on.
Gruden is instead being removed from the league.