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Jon Gruden resigns as Raiders head coach over offensive emails

Raiders head coach John Gruden reacts during the

Raiders head coach John Gruden reacts during the first half against the Bears at Allegiant Stadium on Sunday in Las Vegas. Credit: Getty Images/Ethan Miller

Jon Gruden is out as the Raiders’ coach in the wake of additional reporting of incendiary emails he sent — which included homophobic and misogynistic language — on the heels of Friday’s revelation that he used a racist trope against NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith in an email he wrote while with ESPN.

"I have resigned as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders," Gruden wrote in a statement that the team posted on Twitter late Monday night. "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."

Raiders special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia will serve as the interim head coach, the team announced.

Gruden’s resignation came less than two hours after a New York Times report said he wrote salacious and demeaning emails criticizing several league officials, including NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and a Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner, as well as former President Barack Obama and then-Vice President Joe Biden.

According to the report, the NFL’s investigation into Gruden expanded to include those emails as well as the one referencing Smith.

The labor leader responded Monday evening on Twitter to the publication of Gruden’s email, in which he used racist language to describe his frustration with the possibility of an NFL lockout of players in 2011.

"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," Smith wrote. "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. The email has also revealed why the comments by some with powerful platforms to explain this away are insidious and hypocritical. It is as if there is a need to protect football above the values of equality, inclusion and respect."

Smith confirmed that Gruden had reached out to apologize, "and I told him we will connect soon, but make no mistake, this is not about what is said in our private conversation, but what else is said by people who never thought they would be exposed and how they are going to be held to account."

According to the Times report, Gruden used homophobic slurs to describe Goodell’s attempts to reduce concussions. He criticized the league’s decision to hire women as on-field officials and ripped the drafting of a gay player — Michael Sam — in 2014.

Current Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib earlier this season became the first active NFL player to come out as gay.

The emails, which were sent to former Washington Football Team president Bruce Allen and were part of the league’s investigation into workplace misconduct at the club, also included criticism of players protesting during the national anthem by taking a knee. Gruden said former safety Eric Reid, who demonstrated during the anthem, should be fired.

According to the Times report, Gruden sent emails to Allen and other men that included pictures of women wearing only bikini bottoms. There also was a photo of two Washington Football Team cheerleaders, the report said.

Gruden, 58, coached the Raiders from 1998-2001 and then was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two first-round picks, two second-round picks and $8 million. He won the Super Bowl after the 2002 season, left the Bucs after the 2008 season and became a Monday Night Football analyst for ESPN until 2018, when he was rehired by the Raiders. Mark Davis, the son of Raiders founder Al Davis, signed Gruden to a 10-year, $100 million contract.


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