Jon Gruden is resigning as Las Vegas Raiders coach, according to multiple reports.
The news comes hours after the publication of a damning New York Times report, revealing the venerated Raiders head coach frequently tossed around misogynistic and homophobic comments in his correspondence. The revelation came as a result of a separate workplace misconduct investigation into the franchise ordered by Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner.
“I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction,” Gruden said in a statement on Monday evening. “Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff, and fans of Raider Nation. I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone.”
Gruden’s new emails are part of a trove of 650,000 emails Goodell has had league executives combing through over the past few months. Last week, the commissioner was sent a summary of their findings.
The coach’s messages, some of which were forwarded to the Raiders last week, were written over a period of years, beginning as early as 2010 and ending in 2018.
In several emails obtained by the Times, Gruden uses homophobic slurs to refer to Goodell and a gay player, Michael Sam, drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in 2014. That vulgar language extended to describe some owners, coaches, and sports journalists in other messages over the years.
The emails examined by the Times ended the year Gruden came back to the Raiders for a second stint as coach. In 2020, the team’s lineup would expand to include Carl Nassib, who earlier this year became the first NFL player to publicly come out as gay.
In more emails, Gruden called for the firing of a player who had protested the national anthem in 2016, made transphobic jokes, and swapped photos of half-naked women with other league officials and business executives. In response to a sexist meme about a female referee, Gruben wrote, “Nice job roger.”
Gruden also criticized Goodell for trying to reduce concussion rates in the league, according to the Times. The coach had told ESPN on Sunday that he had made unspecified and vulgar comments about Goodell in a number of emails because he disapproved of the commissioner’s emphasis on safety. (During the pandemic, Gruden was fined thousands of dollars multiple times by the league for violating COVID-19 protocols.)
The Times report came on the heels of a bombshell Wall Street Journal story, which first broke the news of a racist comment Gruden made in a 2011 email about NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith.
On Sunday, Gruden issued a second mea culpa for that comment. “I had no racial intention with those remarks at all,” he said. “I’m not like that at all.”
ESPN reported Monday that Gruden said he felt “really good about the things I have learned" since Friday, when the Journal article dropped.
“I also feel really good about what I stand for, as I said yesterday,” he added, “and I’ll be happy to talk about football, but I’ll just leave it at that.”