NFL coach Jon Gruden out as racism saga takes ugly twist

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Jon Gruden has reigned as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders in the wake of an explosive email scandal. Pic: Getty
Jon Gruden has reigned as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders in the wake of an explosive email scandal. Pic: Getty

NFL coach Jon Gruden has reportedly resigned from the Las Vegas Raiders as more details come to light about the ugly racism scandal the 58-year-old is embroiled in.

Gruden has been crucified in the United States over 10-year-old emails that revealed ugly racist, homophobic and misogynistic comments.

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On Monday night, less than an hour aftera New York Times report that Gruden had sent emails that contained disturbing comments, the NFL Media's Tom Pelissero said Gruden told his staff he planned to resign.

Gruden met with Raiders owner Mark Davis and after the meeting it was reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter that "Gruden no longer will be the Raiders’ head coach".

The New York Times story came after last week's revelation that Gruden had sent an email containing racist comments regarding NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith. 

Last week, as part of an investigation into the the misogynist culture of the Washington Football Team, an email Gruden sent to then-Washington team president Bruce Allen in 2011 was leaked. 

In it, Gruden said of NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith: "Dumboriss Smith has lips the size of michellin [sic] tires.”

Gruden said he wasn't racist. But then on Monday, the New York Times reported that other emails Gruden had sent, which were also unearthed as part of the WFT investigation, said Gruden used anti-gay slurs. 

He referred to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell as a "fa****t" and a "clueless anti-football p****y." 

Gruden said in an email that Goodell shouldn't have pressured then-Los Angeles Rams coach Jeff Fisher to draft "queers," a reference to Michael Sam. Sam was the first openly gay player drafted by the NFL in 2014. 

The New York Times report also said Gruden, in emails, criticised the hiring of women as referees and also the acceptance of players protesting for racial justice during the national anthem. 

The Times said Gruden also exchanged photos of topless women with Allen, including one of WFT's cheerleaders. 

Gruden wasn't an employee of the NFL in 2011. He was in a prominent position with one of the NFL's broadcast partners, as the lead color analyst on ESPN's "Monday Night Football." 

There was a flimsy argument that the NFL couldn't punish Gruden because he wasn't an employee when the email regarding Smith was sent, but then came the second report with even more horrible emails. Gruden wasn't going to survive that. 

John Gruden's return wasn't successful

Gruden's legacy, before the emails, was fairly uncomplicated. He was a dynamic young coach early in his career, first with the Oakland Raiders and then the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he won a Super Bowl.

He went to ESPN and became perhaps the most famous announcer calling the NFL for a decade. He was featured on beer commercials. Finally Raiders owner Mark Davis convinced Gruden to come back and coach, with the enormous contract making it hard to say no. 

Gruden had three unsuccessful seasons on the field in his return. His fourth season was going better. The Raiders were 3-0, but then came two losses. The second loss, to the Chicago Bears on Sunday, was overshadowed by the racist email Gruden had sent regarding Smith. 

Pictured here, Head coach Jon Gruden of the Las Vegas Raiders reacts during an NFL game.
Jon Gruden's stint as the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders has come to a messy end. Pic: Getty

The news of Gruden no longer being Raiders coach broke during Monday Night Football, leaving commentators Brian Griese and Louis Riddick both stunned.

"It's awful. It's awful to hear that," Griese said. 

"Clearly there was more than the one email exchange about DeMaurice Smith. With all those things coming out, I don't see any way Mark Davis couldn't have that conversation with Jon Gruden. You can't come back from that, not in this day and age, nor should he." 

Riddick added: "As someone who played for him, it's highly, highly disappointing to say the least. I'll just leave it at that.

"That all of this is coming out about a guy who ... I'm just shocked." 

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