After being hired in 2018, the Las Vegas Raiders’ Head Coach Jon Gruden has resigned five weeks into the NFL season. Oct. 11 marked his resignation after his years-old emails containing homophobic, sexist and racist language were made public.
The emails were accidentally found.
In July 2020, an investigation began into the Washington Football Team regarding their treatment of women in the workplace. According to a CBS article, this ongoing investigation has led to 650,000 emails being examined closely, and that is how Gruden was caught.
What can be said that hasn’t been said already?
It’s never easy to judge someone for mistakes they made years ago, but Gruden was a grown man and his comments were recurring.
Gruden’s emails were ongoing from 2010-2018, so this was not a lapse in judgement one or two times, this was a major character issue in one of football’s most respected coaches.
In one email, Gruden used homophobic slurs to describe the commisioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell. It was also to be believed that Goodell pressured the Rams to draft Michael Sam — the first openly gay player to be drafted.
Ironically, the Raiders have the only openly gay player in the NFL on their team — Carl Nassib.
Nassib, who plays defensive end, came out in June and received tons of support from the league. These emails disgraced and disrespected Nassib, the NFL and every single player that Gruden has coached. The NFL has been trying to become more progressive and supportive of their players, and the Gruden situation has made that difficult.
After the emails were leaked, it became clear that there was no way for the NFL and the Raiders to move past this situation gracefully, especially with Gruden as the head coach. Simply, he had to go.
Another leaked email revealed racist undertones when he said, “Dumboriss Smith has lips the size of michelin tires.” This comment was referring to NFLPA Chief DeMaurice Smith, who is Black. When the majority of NFL players are Black, this comment stings.
Gruden would have never had the opportunity to coach if it weren’t for the players he was insulting by making a comment like this. His inability to realize this inevitably cost him his job, and hopefully the situation will humble him. As far as his career in football goes, he should be done forever — there’s no redemption story here.
Gruden had also been receiving topless pictures of Washington Football Team cheerleaders from Washington Executive Bruce Allen. This was probably the most disgusting part of the email scandal.
It’s disheartening that comments like this are still being made, and it makes someone wonder why he was so comfortable writing those emails to begin with. This situation is not just a Gruden problem, but an NFL problem — it would be naive to believe that he is the only NFL personnel who holds these beliefs.
As doubtful as this seems, no other emails have been released that would have incriminated anyone else. There certainly could be more people involved, and it would not be surprising.
This situation is far from over.