“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.”
His words came shortly after Gruden spoke with Raiders owner Mark Davis about his decision. The NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero called it “a swift and stunning fall” for one of the highest-paid coaches in the NFL.
As players and owners were jockeying over a collective bargaining agreement, Gruden had an email exchange with Bruce Allen, an executive with the franchise now known as the Washington Football Team. “Dumboriss Smith has lips the size of michellin tires,” he wrote, according to the Wall Street Journal, invoking a staple of anti-Black imagery.
Asked about the email by the Journal, Gruden said it was “a horrible way of explaining” how upset he was about the labor talks, adding that he was “really sorry.” He issued an apology to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, saying, “I don’t have a racist bone in my body.” Amid the tense labor atmosphere of the time, Gruden said he had intended to use an expression he had used in the past, describing people who lie as having “rubber lips,” but instead took it “too far.”
Asked again about the comments just hours before he stepped down on Monday, Gruden said “I’ve learned a lot and, again, I’m not gonna rehash the event again. I think, uh, I feel really good about the things I’ve learned. I also feel really good about the things I stand for.”
The New York Times reported late Monday on other emails Gruden sent during his time at ESPN wherein he used misogynistic and homophobic language.
Gruden’s messages were sent to Bruce Allen, the former president of the Washington Football Team, and others, while he was working for ESPN as a color analyst during “Monday Night Football,” the sports network’s weekly prime-time telecast of N.F.L. games. In the emails, Gruden called the league’s commissioner, Roger Goodell, a “f*gg*t” and a “clueless anti football p*ssy” and said that Goodell should not have pressured Jeff Fisher, then the coach of the Rams, to draft “qu**rs,” a reference to Michael Sam, a gay player chosen by the team in 2014.
Now Gruden, who had a 10-year, $100 million contract with the Raiders, is walking away.
"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
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