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NFL coach Jon Gruden resigns over homophobic, racist and sexist emails

"I'm sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone," Gruden said following a leak of emails dating back 10 years

2021-10-12

Words: Alastair James; pictures: Twitter/@Raiders and Instagram/@jon_gruden

An NFL coach has resigned following a leak of emails dating back 10 years, which contained homophobic, sexist, and racist language.

Jon Gruden, 58, the coach of the Las Vegas Raiders said he did not want to be a distraction for the team.

The owner of the Raiders, Mark Davis, has condemned the remarks and accepted Gruden's resignation. The team's assistant coach, Rich Bisaccia, will become the interim head coach, as confirmed by the team's social media accounts. 

The resignation comes after reports emerged in the US press of Gruden's emails and an investigation by the National Football League (NFL) into workplace misconduct in Washington.

"I never meant to hurt anyone"

In a statement released on Monday (11 October) Gruden said: "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."

As reported by The New York Times, Gruben sent an email to Bruce Allen of the Washington Football Team regarding NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Gruden said that Goodell should not have pressured then-St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher to draft "queers."

He was referring to former defensive end Michael Sam, a gay player drafted in 2014.

Gruden is also reported to have used an anti-gay slur in several instances while referring to Goodell and used similar language to describe others in the footballing world.

Other emails included sexist and racist language, of which Gruben has told ESPN: "I'm embarrassed by what's out there. I certainly never meant for it to sound that bad."

At an earlier press conference on Monday, Gruben said he did not have an "ounce of racism" in him and apologised. 

ESPN reports that Gruden got the job as Raiders head coach in 2018 with a 10-year contract worth a reported $100 million.

Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib came out as gay in June and is the first openly gay player to appear in an NFL game. At the time, Gruden supported Nassib coming out and said he would stand with him. 

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