Las Vegas Raiders Coach Jon Gruden Forced to Resign over Email Scandal

Logan Kinajil-Moran, Contributing Writer

Jon Gruden, former coach of NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders, was forced to resign as Head Coach after the results of an investigation into emails he had sent between 2010 and 2018 were made public. He was found to have exhibited racist, homophobic, and misogynistic behavior and language repeatedly.

Gruden, who had coached the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to Super Bowl success in 2002 and had coached the Raiders in two spells, first from 1998 to 2001, then from 2018 until his resignation, was exposed during an investigation into workplace misconduct. His contract with the Raiders was due to last ten years and was worth $100 million.

Some examples of his conduct include the use of homophobic language, like referring to former Los Angeles Rams and Dallas Cowboys player Michael Sam as “a q—r” and calling NFL commissioner Roger Goodell the f-slur and an “anti football p—y.” He was also found to have used a racial stereotype against DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFL Players Association, when he described his lips as being “the size of Michelin tires.” Gruden was also found to have sent explicit photos of NFL cheerleaders. 

The thousands of emails include several more examples of Gruden showing very few boundaries with his language and topics over the years.

The emails were uncovered during an investigation that did not directly involve Gruden. In 2019, the NFL conducted an inquiry into sexual harassment, bullying, and intimidation reports at the Washington Football Team, which included emails between Gruden, Washington Football Team president Bruce Allen and others. Gruden and Allen had worked together previously at the Buccaneers. The investigation uncovered more than 650,000 emails from 2010 to 2018, and further investigation in the past few months exposed Gruden’s conduct. During this period, Gruden also worked on ESPN as an analyst.

After the contents of the emails were exposed and reports by the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times were released in early October, he resigned on Oct. 11, stating that he did “not want to be a distraction” in a public statement. He also went on to say that henever meant to hurt anyone” in the same statement.

The Raiders went on to win their first game since Gruden’s resignation in a 34-24 defeat of the Denver Broncos on Oct. 17. While the football world goes on, this episode will likely not be forgotten quickly and shows the NFL’s crackdown on these kinds of offenses, where some have criticized for being too lenient in the past.

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