The Jon Gruden era in Las Vegas crashed and burned on Monday night after a New York Times report revealed a series of past emails from the 58-year-old containing misogynistic and homophobic language. Just over an hour later, he resigned as the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders.
“I have resigned as Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders,” Gruden said in a statement, per Ian Rapoport. “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 found himself at the center of controversy over his emails as early as last week when the league uncovered that he had used a racist trope to describe NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith in an email back in 2011. The situation only grew worse on Monday.
The report from the New York Times revealed that Gruden had sent numerous emails containing derogatory language over a seven-year period from 2011 to 2018. Although not with a team at the time, Gruden was a prominently featured NFL analyst for ESPN during that period.
The network had remained mostly silent on the matter, but was forced to address the resignation news during tonight’s Monday Night Football broadcast. After the on-air crew stumbled through talking about the situation, without mentioning Gruden’s past employment at ESPN, the Worldwide Leader issued a brief remark later on Monday night.
“The comments are clearly repugnant under any circumstance,” ESPN said in a statement, per The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch.
NFL fans and media members were quick to point out ESPN’s handling of Gruden’s history with the network and the fact that this trove of emails was sent while he worked there. Many hoped that ESPN would do something further to address what happened between 2011 and 2018.
ESPN talking about how the Raiders organization handles Jon Gruden’s behavior while he was an ESPN employee is wild
— Mike Ryan (Ruiz) ⭐️⭐️ (@MichaelRyanRuiz) October 12, 2021
Got to think a statement from ESPN is coming at some point in the second half. They’ve definitely glossed over the fact that this behavior was mostly during his tenure at ESPN. https://t.co/ftxASjEJI7
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) October 12, 2021
ESPN surely didn’t note it at MNF halftime, but Jon Gruden was a very, very highly-paid ESPN employee when he sent the emails that led to his “resignation.” Just want to make sure everyone is clear as to the skin ESPN has in how they shape this story.
— CollegeFootballTalk (@CFTalk) October 12, 2021
Also find it pretty hard to believe that at least a few people at ESPN aren’t aware of Jon Gruden’s, uh, views
— Patrick Hruby (@patrick_hruby) October 12, 2021
Jon Gruden’s emails are further & final proof for the necessity of minority voices in positions of power.
— Emmanuel Acho (@EmmanuelAcho) October 12, 2021
Not surprisingly, ESPN isn't talking on their #MNF telecast about how some of Jon Gruden's emails in question came while he was their LEAD NFL analyst, let alone an ESPN employee.
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) October 12, 2021
ESPN has plenty to answer for if Gruden openly reiterated the views that he expressed in his emails during his time with the network. Time will tell if the Worldwide Leader addresses the situation further.
After Monday’s report and subsequent resignation, Gruden could have trouble finding employment anywhere on television or in the NFL. He’ll leave the Raiders after less than four seasons in charge and after posting a disappointing 22-31 record.