Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden resigned on Monday, as new allegations of using misogynistic and anti-gay language rocked the coach just days after he was accused of racism.
Gruden stepped down after meeting Raiders owner Mark Davis earlier on Monday, soon after fresh revelations engulfed the embattled head coach.
“I have resigned as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders,” Gruden said in a statement on the Raiders’ Web site. “I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction... I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone.”
Gruden’s bombshell decision comes after a tumultuous 72-hour period that began on Friday when the Wall Street Journal revealed that the coach had used a racist trope to describe NFL Players’ Association executive director DeMaurice Smith.
In the e-mail, Gruden referred to Smith as having “lips the size of Michelin tires.”
The language invokes imagery long used in anti-black caricatures.
The NFL condemned the e-mail as “appalling, abhorrent and wholly contrary to the NFL’s values.”
In comments to ESPN over the weekend, Gruden said he was “ashamed,” and insisted that he “didn’t have a blade of racism” in his character.
However, late on Monday, the New York Times reported that it had reviewed several more e-mails by Gruden in which he used anti-gay and misogynistic slurs, as he disparaged issues such as the emergence of female referees to the drafting of a gay player.
Gruden coaches the only openly gay player in the NFL, Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib, who came out as gay in June.
In other e-mails reported by the Times, Gruden derided players who protested during the playing of the US national anthem, calling for them to be fired.
Gruden also used anti-gay slurs to abuse NFL commissioner Roger Goodell over the league’s efforts to reduce concussions.
The Times reported that the e-mails stemmed from a separate workplace misconduct investigation, which did not directly involve Gruden.
The e-mails were sent to former Washington Football Team president Bruce Allen when Gruden was working as a studio analyst for ESPN.
Gruden returned to coaching with the Raiders in 2018 after a 10-year absence.
In the e-mails reviewed by the Times, Gruden is alleged to have referred to Goodell as a “faggot” and a “clueless anti-football pussy.”
He also took aim at Goodell for reportedly leaning on then-Saint Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher to draft “queers” — a reference to openly gay college player Michael Sam, who was picked by the club in 2014.
On Monday, Smith said that Gruden had contacted him following the revelations.
“I appreciate that he reached out to me,” Smith wrote on social media. “I told him that we will connect soon, but make no mistake, the news 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.”
Smith said that the e-mail from Gruden and the reaction to it “confirms that the fight against racism, racist tropes and intolerance is not over.”
“This is not about an e-mail as much as it is about a pervasive belief by some that people who look like me can be treated as less,” Smith wrote.
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