Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden resigned on Monday following the leak of emails in which he used racist, homophobic, and sexist language.
“I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction,” Gruden said in a statement posted on the team’s Twitter account. “Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff, and fans of Raider Nation. I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone.”
In an email from July 21, 2011 to then-Washington Football Team president Bruce Allen, Gruden criticized NFL Players Association executive DeMaurice Smith, who is black.
“Dumboriss Smith has lips the size of michellin tires,” Gruden wrote in the email, reported by the Wall Street Journal last week.
The existence of additional emails in which Gruden referred to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in as a “faggot” and a “clueless anti football pussy,” were reported by the New York Times on Monday, with Gruden resigning hours later. Gruden also said that Goodell should not have pressured former St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher to draft “queers,” and lamented the emergence of female referees.
The last reference was to Michael Sam, an openly gay player drafted by the Rams in 2014 who was cut before that season began. Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib came out as the first openly gay player active in the NFL in June 2021.
The NFL found that Gruden repeatedly used such language as part of a separate misconduct investigation that did not directly involve him, according to the Times.
Gruden has been a fixture at the NFL and ESPN for decades. A former coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders, Gruden became an analyst at ESPN’s Monday Night Football in 2008, before returning to the Raiders in 2018 on a ten-year, $100 million contract.