Jon Gruden resigned as the Las Vegas Raiders’ head coach Monday night in the wake of further allegations of inappropriate emails.
The New York Times reported Monday the existence of numerous emails that included homophobic or misogynistic terms. That news followed a Friday report from the Wall Street Journal that Gruden used racist language in a 2011 email when describing the appearance of DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFL Players Association. Gruden apologized but said he didn’t remember writing the email.
Gruden said in a statement Monday night, “I have resigned as Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. 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.”
He reportedly told team owner Mark Davis of his decision to step down in a face-to-face meeting. Davis wrote in a statement merely that he accepted Gruden’s resignation.
Rich Bisaccia, the Raiders’ assistant head coach and special teams coordinator, is replacing Gruden as head coach on an interim basis, the team announced.
The Times reported that the NFL, in the midst of an unrelated investigation, flagged many emails written by Gruden. He allegedly used disparaging terms while expressing opposition to women serving as NFL referees, the league drafting or including gay players and the player protests while the national anthem is played pregame.
Gruden also allegedly used foul terms to describe NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, including an anti-gay slur, and used a different anti-gay slur while writing about Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team. Sam was selected by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round in 2014 but never played a regular-season game in the league.
The offending emails were written during a stretch when Gruden was working for ESPN as an NFL commentator. ESPN wrote in a statement Monday night, “The comments are clearly repugnant under any circumstance.”
The Raiders currently employ the only active openly gay NFL player, defensive end Carl Nassib, who has 1.5 sacks in five games this year.
Smith tweeted Monday, “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. 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.”
Gruden, 58, signed a 10-year, $100 million deal to return to coaching with the Raiders in 2018.
The Raiders are off to a 3-2 start, leaving Gruden 22-31 in his second stint as the team’s head coach. He was 38-26 in the regular season while coaching the then-Oakland Raiders from 1998-2001, and he posted a 57-55 regular-season mark with the Buccaneers from 2002-08, leading Tampa Bay to a Super Bowl championship after the 2002 season.