Highlighting the extent to which cancel culture ensures that private opinions have public consequences, Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden resigned late Monday after old emails were made public.
The emails contained slurs that mocked the masculinity of multiple NFL figures, including Commissioner Roger Goodell; criticized having women as referees; and railed against the league for pressuring a team to draft an openly gay player, according to The New York Times.
“I have resigned as Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders,” Gruden said in a statement released by the team.
“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.”
“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.”
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) October 12, 2021
Rich Bisaccia, the Raiders’ special teams coordinator, will serve as interim head coach, the team announced.
The emails that were examined covered a period from 2011 through 2018, when Gruden was working for ESPN as an analyst for “Monday Night Football.”
Gruden’s comments came to light because they were sent to Bruce Allen, the former president of the Washington Football Team.
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As part of an NFL investigation into the workplace culture of the Washington team, investigators combed through about 650,000 emails. The results of that investigation were shared with the league, which then alerted the Raisers to the content of what Gruden was writing.
One email from Gruden made public last week slammed DeMaurice Smith, the leader of the NFL players union, with a reference to the size of his lips, which many outlets described as “racist.”
The coach said Friday that his comment about Smith “went too far,” adding, “I never had a blade of racism in me.”
The Times reviewed more of the private emails and published some of their contents on Monday, saying, “Taken together, the emails provide an unvarnished look into the clubby culture of one N.F.L. circle of peers, where white male decision makers felt comfortable sharing pornographic images, deriding the league policies, and jocularly sharing homophobic language.”
Some of those emails took issue with the NFL’s focus on player concussions and opposed player protests over the national anthem.
Gruden’s targets for criticism included Caitlyn Jenner, former President Barack Obama and current President Joe Biden during his stint as vice president. The coach referred to Biden as a “nervous clueless p****.”
Some observers said the ousted Raiders coach was the victim of a double standard.
Deshaun Watson has been accused of sexually assaulting 24 different women. He is currently eligible to play in the NFL. Yet Jon Gruden was just forced to resign as a coach because of years old derogatory emails. Actions used to matter more than words. Now it’s the opposite.
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) October 12, 2021
Richard Sherman was arrested for domestic violence this past summer. He is currently playing for the Bucs. Jon Gruden used vulgar language in private emails several years ago. He is now out of a job. If you think this is about simple “accountability,” you’re a moron.
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) October 12, 2021
If Jon Gruden had his personal emails released and in those emails he mocked straight people, insulted the looks of a white man, and said Christians are stupid, he’d still be employed today. Probably with a new book deal. And everyone knows it.
That’s power. https://t.co/82QP2xSRQm
— Jesse Kelly (@JesseKellyDC) October 12, 2021
Gruden was not with the league at the time of the emails.
He won a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002 and returned to the Raiders as head coach in 2018.