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Jon Gruden steps down as Raiders coach over offensive emails

Jon Gruden, the coach of the Las Vegas Raiders has resigned after discovering that emails he sent before being hired in 2018 contained racist, homophobic and misogynistic comments.

“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,” Gruden said in a statement yesterday.

The former coach resigned after The New York Times reported that he frequently used misogynistic and homophobic language directed at Commissioner Roger Goodell and others in the National Football League (NFL).

Rich Bisaccia, the assistant head coach, will take over on an interim basis. Bisaccia has been a special team’s coordinator in the NFL for 19 seasons with the Raiders, Chargers, Dallas and Tampa Bay. He has no head coaching experience but his elevation will allow other assistants such as defensive coordinator Gus Bradley to stay in their current roles.

Gruden, who is on the fourth year of his ten years contract worth about N45billion ($100million) was signed by the Radiers in 2018. It was a rapid downfall for the coach which started on Friday when the Wall Street Journal reported that he used a racist term to describe NFL union chief DeMaurice Smith in a 2011 email to former Washington executive Bruce Allen.

The emails were discovered in a workplace misconduct investigation into the Washington Football Team but ended up costing Gruden his job when they also showed Gruden denounced the drafting of a gay player and the tolerance of players protesting during the playing of the national anthem among other issues.

Gruden apologized for his “insensitive remarks” about Smith, saying they were made out of frustration over the 2011 lockout. But the latest emails sent from between 2011-18 when he was an analyst for ESPN show his use of derogatory language went well beyond that.

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A league source confirms the accuracy of the emails and said they were sent to the Raiders last week. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the league has not made the emails public.

Mark Davis, the chief executive officer of Raiders, said recently that the email about Smith was “disturbing and not what the Raiders stand for” and that the team was reviewing the additional emails.

The Times reported that Gruden used a gay slur to insult Goodell and said he was “clueless” and “anti-football.” He also said Goodell should not have pressured the Rams to draft “queers,” a reference to Michael Sam, who was the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team.

Carl Nassib, Raiders defender came out as gay in June and is the first openly gay player to appear in an NFL game.

In a 2017 email, the Times said Gruden responded to a sexist meme of a female official by saying: “Nice job roger.”

The paper also said Gruden criticized Goodell and the NFL league for trying to reduce concussions and said that Eric Reid, a player who had demonstrated during the playing of the national anthem, should be fired.

The newspaper said Gruden also mocked an article in 2017 about players calling on Goodell to support their efforts promoting racial equality and criminal justice reform.

“He needs to hide in his concussion protocol tent,” Gruden wrote.

Gruden and Allen have a long relationship, having worked together in Oakland and Tampa Bay. The emails between the two and other men included photos of women wearing only bikini bottoms, including one photo of two Washington team cheerleaders.

Gruden also criticized President Barack Obama during his re-election campaign in 2012, and then-vice president Joe Biden.

Smith said earlier Monday that he appreciates that Gruden reached out to him following the initial report, but that the email is evidence that the fight against racism is ongoing.

“But make no mistake, the news is not about what is said in our private conversation, but what else is said by people who never thought they would be exposed and how they are going to be held to account,” Smith wrote in a Twitter thread.

Gruden’s comments to Allen about Smith came during the 2011 lockout of the players by the NFL. Gruden told the Wall Street Journal he was angry about the lockout during labor negotiations and he didn’t trust the direction the union was taking.

“Dum­b­oriss Smith has lips the size of Michelin tires,” Gruden wrote in the email re­viewed by the newspaper.

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