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Jon Gruden is out as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. He resigned on Monday after The New York Times published a report detailing how he had spent years making racist, homophobic, and misogynistic remarks in email exchanges with Bruce Allen, the former Raiders and Buccaneers executive who served as president and general manager in Washington. The emails were discovered as part of the NFL’s investigation into the Washington Football Team, for whom Allen worked from 2010 to 2019. Gruden was an ESPN employee at the time he sent the emails.
Last Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported on a 2011 email in which Gruden made a racist comment about NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith. “Dumboriss Smith has lips the size of michellin tires,” Gruden wrote. When asked about this email, Gruden told the Journal he couldn’t recall sending it, and said the message had nothing to do with racism—he said he has a history of referring to people he believes to be lying as having “rubber lips.” This explanation was plainly bogus; nobody has heard of that expression, and Gruden hasn’t used it in hundreds of hours of televised commentary or press conferences. Nonetheless, Gruden told the Journal, “I don’t have a racial bone in my body, and I’ve proven that for 58 years.”
But the Times report makes clear that he sent hundreds of similar emails, stretching from 2010 until he was hired by the Raiders in 2018. In them, he called commissioner Roger Goodell a “f-----” and a “clueless anti football pussy.” He denigrated the NFL’s female referees, said that players who kneeled during the national anthem to demand social justice should be kicked out of the league, and shared topless photos of NFL cheerleaders. He couldn’t spin this by claiming that some of the worst slurs in existence were actually folksy expressions you’d never heard of, or that the views he expressed weren’t accurate reflections of his character. This is who he is.
[Read more from Rodger Sherman]