Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden has reportedly resigned from his post after a new report from The New York Times shed light on multiple homophobic and misogynistic emails allegedly sent by Gruden while he was an employee of ESPN.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Gruden met with Raiders owner Mark Davis Monday night to tender his resignation. He joined the Raiders in 2018 after signing a 10-year, $100-million contract.
The report in The Times follows initial reporting from The Wall Street Journal that revealed Gruden had referred to NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith’s appearance in a racist way in an email written in 2011.
According to emails reviewed by The Times, Gruden “denounced the emergence of women as referees, the drafting of a gay player and the tolerance of players protesting during the playing of the national anthem.” The Times also reports that he frequently used homophobic langauge and other offensive terms to criticize NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Michael Sam — the first publically gay man to be drafted into the NFL.
The emails — written over a seven-year period from 2011-18 — were discovered during an investigation into workplace misconduct allegations made against the Washington Football Team. Gruden’s emails were often sent to Bruce Allen — Washington’s then-president — who Gruden had previously worked with during his first stint with the Raiders and with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“Privately, Allen and Gruden appeared to have few boundaries in expressing homophobic and transphobic language,” reporters Ken Belson and Katherine Rosman wrote in The Times.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Monday that the NFL had sent a number of emails to the Raiders for review and was closely monitoring the situation.
“The email from Jon Gruden denigrating DeMaurice Smith is appalling, abhorrent and wholly contrary to the NFL’s values,” NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy said Friday. “We condemn the statement and regret any harm that its publication may inflict on Mr. Smith or anyone else.”
In a string of tweets Monday, Smith wrote that Gruden’s comments and the public reaction confirm “that the fight against racism, racist tropes and intolerance is not over.”
“The powerful in our business have to embrace that football itself has to be better, as opposed to making excuses to maintain the status quo,” Smith wrote.
After the Raiders’ loss to the Bears on Sunday, Gruden apologized for the “insensitive remarks” made to Smith.
“All I can say is that 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 apologize for the insensitive remarks. I had no racial intentions with those remarks at all. But… yes, they can… I’m not like that at all. I apologize but I don’t want to keep addressing it.”
The Raiders visit the Denver Broncos on Sunday.