The damage to Jon Gruden’s legacy extends beyond the loss of his job as coach of the Las Vegas Raiders and the widespread condemnation of homophobic, misogynistic and racist comments. The revelation that Gruden was denigrating people around the NFL has tarnished long-term relationships, destroyed a sponsorship deal and discredited him with the organization that landed him a Super Bowl title.
Gruden has not spoken publicly since his statement Monday night announcing his resignation, hours after The New York Times reported that NFL officials had discovered amid an investigation into workplace misconduct at the Washington Football Team in which he did not was directly involved that he casually and regularly belittled people throughout the league in bigoted terms. That report came three days after The Wall Street Journal first reported Gruden sent a message denigrating DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFL Players Association, who is black, with a racist trope.
The NFLPA and the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which is committed to improving diversity in the NFL, condemned Gruden’s comments, unlike the Raiders, who said in their statement Monday night only that owner Mark Davis had accepted his resignation. On Wednesday, CEO Mike Mayock emphasized to reporters that Davis’ late father, Al Davis, had employed the league’s top woman, Amy Trask, on several occasions; the first African-American coach in modern times, Art Shell; and one of the league’s first Spanish coaches, Tom Flores.
Mark Davis told ESPN on Wednesday that he had no comment on Gruden’s departure. Then, perhaps suggesting his dismay that these previously confidential emails had cost him his coach, Davis said, “Ask the NFL. They have all the answers.”
The league said last week it shared emails with the Raiders in which Gruden made derogatory comments. As the Raiders tried to regroup behind interim coach, Rich Bisaccia, Gruden’s former team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, removed his name from their ring of honor at Raymond James Stadium. They probably had little choice after an email from 2015 revealed that Gruden — who coached the team for seven years and won a Super Bowl after the 2002 season — insulted Bryan Glazer, a scion of the family that owns the team. with a rude request.
Under their current coach, Bruce Arians, the Buccaneers have prioritized diversifying their workforce. They became the first team to install black coaches in all three coordinator positions, and they were also the first to have two women — assistant defense coach Lori Locust and strength and conditioning coach Maral Javadifar — in full-time roles.
“The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been advocating for targeted change in race relations, gender equality, diversity and inclusion for years,” the team said in a statement. “While we recognize Jon Gruden’s contributions on the field, his actions go against our core values as an organization.”
Gruden exchanged these emails with Bruce Allen, the former president of the Washington Football Team, and others, during his time as an ESPN commentator before starting his second stint as the Raiders’ coach in 2018. They represent only a portion of approximately 650,000 rated posts. by the NFL as part of a Washington workplace culture survey that ended this summer. The league concluded that the environment was “highly unprofessional” and bullying and harassment continued, and fined Washington $10 million.
No formal account of the investigation was released at the time, only a brief summary. Lisa Banks and Debra Katz, attorneys representing 40 former team members, protested that decision at the time, saying the league protected the team’s owner, Daniel Snyder, by keeping the findings private. Banks and Katz renewed their pressure on Tuesday after Gruden’s resignation.
“It is truly outrageous that after the 10-month NFL investigation involving hundreds of witnesses and 650,000 documents relating to the Washington Football Team’s long-standing culture of harassment and abuse, the only person held accountable and losing their job is the coach of the Las Vegas Raiders,” they said in a statement. “Our customers and the general public deserve transparency and accountability. If not, the NFL and Roger Goodell need to explain why they support the Washington Football Team and owner Dan Snyder at all costs. want to protect.”
Gruden also lost his endorsement contract with the shoe and clothing company Skechers, which in a statement cited a zero-tolerance policy for behavior that violates its belief in “equality, promoting tolerance and understanding for all people.”
He may also have lost the respect of one of his former players, Carl Nassib, who is the first active NFL player to publicly declare himself gay.
Gruden used a derogatory term in one email when he wrote that Commissioner Roger Goodell should not have pressured the Rams to draft gay players. Gruden was referring to Michael Sam, a gay player who was taken in 2014. When Nassib came out in June, Gruden praised his decision. Nassib has not publicly responded to Gruden’s emails, but when the Raiders reconvened on Wednesday to practice, Nassib was not there.
“He asked for a personal day today,” Mayock said told reporters. “He just said he has a lot to deal with, a lot has happened in the past few days, and of course we support that request.”