Jon Gruden stepped down Monday as the coach of the Las Vegas Raiders football team hours after The New York Times detailed emails in which he had made homophobic and misogynistic remarks, following an earlier report of racist statements about a union leader.
His resignation was a striking departure from the football league for a coach who had won a Super Bowl, been a marquee analyst on ESPN and returned to the NFL in 2018 to lead the resurgent Raiders, which he had coached years before.
“I have resigned as Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders,” he said on Twitter in a statement issued by the team. “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.”
Mark Davis, the owner of the Raiders, said in a statement that he had accepted the resignation. Rich Bisaccia, the Raiders’ special teams coordinator, was elevated to interim head coach, the team said.
Gruden’s departure came after a New York Times report that NFL officials, as part of a separate workplace misconduct investigation that did not directly involve him, found that Gruden had casually and frequently unleashed misogynistic and homophobic language over several years to denigrate people around the game and to mock some of the league’s momentous changes.
He denounced the emergence of women as referees, the drafting of a gay player and the tolerance of players protesting during the playing of the national anthem, according to emails reviewed by The Times.
It was a rapid downfall for Gruden, who was in the fourth year of a 10-year, $100 million contract he signed with the Raiders in 2018.
It started Friday when the Wall Street Journal reported that Gruden used a racist term to describe NFL union chief DeMaurice Smith in a 2011 e-mail to former Washington executive Bruce Allen.
The NFL obtained the e-mails that Gruden sent to Allen in a separate investigation of workplace misconduct regarding that franchise.
Gruden had apologized for his “insensitive remarks” about Smith, saying they were made out of frustration over the 2011 lockout. But the latest e-mails sent from 2011-18, when Gruden was a “Monday Night Football” analyst for ESPN, show his use of derogatory language went well beyond that.
The Times reported Gruden used a gay slur to insult NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and said he was “clueless” and “anti-football.” He also said Goodell shouldn’t have pressured the Rams to draft “queers,” a reference to Michael Sam, who was the first openly-gay player drafted by an NFL team.
Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib came out as gay in June and is the first openly gay player to appear in an NFL game.
In a 2017 e-mail, the Times said Gruden responded to a sexist meme of a female official by saying: “Nice job roger.”
Smith said earlier Monday he appreciated that Gruden reached out to him. “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.
Browns rookie LB back home
Browns rookie linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah returned to Ohio after suffering a throat bruise in Sunday’s 47-42 loss against the Chargers and being evaluated and treated at a Los Angeles-area hospital.
Owusu-Koramoah got hurt in the first quarter and was taken to a hospital near SoFi Stadium. He was released Sunday night and landed back in Cleveland on Monday, according to a team spokesman.
The second-round draft pick from Notre Dame appeared to get hurt while making a tackle. He struggled getting to the sideline and dropped to one knee while grabbing at his throat area.
Banged-up Giants reeling
The New York Giants are battling the deadly B’s five games into the season: They’re bad and they’re banged up.
The Giants (1-4) took their second-worst loss in the Joe Judge tenure dropping a 44-20 decision in Dallas to the NFC East-leading Cowboys. New York was beaten in every phase of the game by Dak Prescott and company. The injuries only made it worse.
Running back Saquon Barkley sprained his left ankle early, stepping on the foot of Dallas defensive back Jourdan Lewis. Quarterback Daniel Jones sustained a concussion in a goal-line collision late in the first half. Receiver Kenny Golladay left at halftime with a knee injury, and backup cornerback Rodarius Williams tore an ACL in the second half.
Combine those with major injuries earlier this season to inside linebacker Blake Martinez, center Nick Gates and left guard Shane Lemieux, and this is a team in dire circumstances just more than a month into the schedule. Backup quarterback Mike Glennon said the Giants can’t afford to put their heads down.
“We will put our best foot forward and it is just business as usual,” he said. “You have to come back every day, keep fighting, keep working and stick together.”
He’s not hearing it
Ron Rivera bristled at the notion of taking over defensive play-calling from second-year coordinator Jack Del Rio or making any changes to his coaching staff in the aftermath of Washington giving up 33 points in a loss to New Orleans. “That stuff makes no sense to me,” Rivera said, insisting four or five plays made the difference in the loss that dropped his team to 2-3 on the season. Last season, Del Rio’s defensive unit ranked second in the NFL, but this season. Washington’s defense has been among the worst in the league, allowing 408 yards and 31 points a game. “I thought what we did last week gave us an opportunity, so at the end of the day, what we’re going to do is we’re going to continue to work guys,” Rivera said. “The only way you’re going to get better is to work in practice, practice hard, practice as best as you can, then you go out and you play.” . . . Buccaneers wide receiver Antonio Brown became the fastest NFL player to 900 receptions, doing so in 143 games. Pro Football Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison was the previous fastest at 149. Brown also had two TD catches, joining Julio Jones, Jerry Rice, Torry Holt and Andre Johnson as the only players in league history with 12,000 career receiving yards in fewer than 150 games. The 33-year-old receiver extended the NFL’s longest active streak with at least one catch to 141 consecutive games . . . Atlanta’s Matt Ryan completed 33 of 45 passes to lead the Falcons to a 27-20 win over the New York Jets in London and become the seventh QB to reach 5,000 completions. He also surpassed Eli Manning (57,023 passing yards) for the eighth-most yards passing in NFL history with 57,099 . . . Arizona’s DeAndre Hopkins had six receptions for 87 yards and one touchdown in the Cardinals’ 17-10 win over San Francisco, At 29 years and 126 days old, Hopkins has 770 career receptions, surpassing Larry Fitzgerald (764) for the most receptions by a player before his 30th birthday.