Jon Gruden is no longer the Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. He decided to step down on Monday after a mass of controversy. Gruden sent homophobic, transphobic, misogynistic and racist emails to top NFL personnel. In a statement on Twitter, Gruden stated, “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”.
A New York Times article by Ken Belson and Katherine Rosman broke the news that during the Washington Football Team investigation it was discovered that Gruden had sent many homophobic and misogynistic emails. The NFL sifted through more than 650,000 emails during this investigation. These emails were sent to the Raiders after Gruden was found to be involved. In these emails, Gruden, who used his personal email, made comments denouncing women referees, drafting a gay player, the tolerance of players protesting during the national anthem, preventing concussions, and Roger Goodell. Many of the emails were sent to Bruce Allen, the former president of the Washington Football Team, on his team account. In these emails, Gruden called Roger Goodell a “faggot” and a “clueless anti football p****” and asserted that the Rams should not have been pressured to draft “queers”. These emails between Gruden and Alleni also included photos of women wearing only bikini bottoms. Gruden also chastised Barack Obama, Joe Biden and DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFL Players Association.
According to the New York Times article, “some of the emails between Gruden and Allen also included businessmen friends, Ed Droste, the co-founder of Hooters; Jim McVay, an executive who has run the Outback Bowl, annually held in Tampa Fla; and Nick Reader, the founder of PDQ Restaurants, a Tampa-based fried chicken franchise.”
Carl Nassib, the first openly gay active NFL player who currently plays for the Raiders, took a personal day on Wednesday. The Raiders fully supported his decision. Nassib came out as gay earlier this year while Gruden was the head coach of the Raiders. Gruden publicly stated when Nassib came out, “I learned a long time ago what makes a man different is what makes him great.” Nassib was back at practice on Thursday.
What’s next for the Raiders? Rich Bisaccia, the teams special teams coordinator, will now act as interim head coach. The Raiders head to Denver to face the Broncos on Sunday. Both teams are 3-2 currently. It will be interesting to see how a team that revolved around Gruden performs without him. The question for many Raiders fans is who will be the next permanent head coach of the Raiders Nation? Only time will tell…
What did the players and others associated with the NFL have to say about Gruden’s behavior? The Raiders quarterback, Derek Carr, told The Athletic, “I love the man, I hate the sin”. Aaron Rogers discussed the changes that the NFL is making in a statement on the Pat McAfee Show, “‘The player and the coach of today is a more empathetic, advanced, progressive, loving, connected type of person. I’m proud of the kind of locker room we have.'” Rogers then went on to say, “‘We need to allow people to grow and change, but those opinions don’t have a place in the game'”
What does all of this behavior show about the culture at the NFL? It shows as a whole they had a toxic culture, but that they are working to fix it. But society as a whole has toxic culture. Hopefully, the NFL will continue to move in the positive direction it has been going in. The NFL has various programs to hire more women and minorities. With a diverse workforce, the NFL will have less of these problems in the future and more individuals will be interested and want to support the League. Diversity is key to any successful business.