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Jon Gruden out as Raiders coach

Las Vegas head coach resigns amid email controversy

Chicago Bears v Las Vegas Raiders
Jon Gruden
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

In a stunning turn of events, Jon Gruden resigned as the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday evening in the midst of controversy over numerous offensive emails.

The news was initially reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter and NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. The Raiders official Twitter went on to confirm with a tweet at 7.03 p.m. PT stating that Gruden had resigned, and a statement from their former coach saying he “never meant to hurt anyone.”

A follow-up email from the team stated that owner Mark Davis has accepted Gruden’s resignation.

The revelations first came to light on Friday when the Wall Street Journal reported that Gruden wrote a racist trope about NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith in a 2011 email. Gruden went on to addressed his offensive comment and said he told Smith he was sorry for the comments.

However, the situation escalated on Monday afternoon when The New York Times reported that the NFL was in possession of several other emails that Gruden wrote. In them, he reportedly called NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a homophobic name; he criticized female officials; bemoaned that the fact the Los Angeles Rams drafted openly gay player, Michael Sam, in 2014; and was critical of NFL players kneeling during the national anthem.

According to the New York Times, Gruden also exchanged emails with Bruce Allen, former president of the Washington Football Team, and other men that included photos of women wearing only bikini bottoms, including a photo of two Washington team cheerleaders.

The escalation of reports was enough for Gruden to resign. He would have likely been fired by Raiders owner Mark Davis if he didn’t opt to exit. Davis will likely have to answer why he let Gruden coach in Sunday’s 20-9 loss to the Chicago Bears considering that the NFL gave the team all of the reported emails Friday.

Having rejoined the Raiders in January 2018, Gruden will now forfeit the remaining money from his historic 10-year, $100-million deal that he signed to return to the Raiders.

In the end, Gruden was a disappointment on the field as well as being an off-field distraction in his final tenure wearing the Silver and Black. The Raiders were 22-31 in his second stint with the team.

On Monday, hours before he he left the team, Gruden was dismissive in answering a reporter’s question about the Smith emails.

“I’ve learned a lot and again I’m not going to rehash the event again,“ Gruden said. “I think I feel very good about the things I have learned. I also feel really good about what I stand for, as I said yesterday, and I’ll be happy to talk about football, but I’ll just leave it at that.”

Having been employed by ESPN from 2009 until 2018, Gruden told his former network on Friday night that he was in a “bad frame of mind” when he sent the emails attacking Goodell.

“I was in a bad frame of mind at the time [in 2011], and I called Roger Goodell a [expletive] in one of these emails too. They were keeping players and coaches from doing what they love with a lockout. There also were a lot of things being reported publicly about the safety of the sport that I love. I was on a mission with high school football [in the Tampa, Florida, area] during that time, and there were a lot of parents who were scared about letting their kids play football. It just didn’t sit well with me.”

There have been reports that special teams coach Rich Bisaccia is a candidate to take over for the rest of the season. If that happens, at least the offensive and defensive staffs won’t be disrupted. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson will call the plays.