By: Frank Cannistra
On the heels of a major coaching scandal down in Jacksonville, Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden has found himself in a similar situation, one that has led to his resignation.
Throughout the last few days, emails from as long as ten years ago have been resurfacing, showcasing Gruden using homophobic, misogynistic and racist terminology.
The first email brought to the attention of the public saw Gruden referring to The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) executive director, DeMaurice Smith, as “Dumboriss Smith” and stating that he “has lips the size of Michelin tires”. The jab directed at Smith was somewhat brushed off as a bad mistake from a decade ago, and Gruden and the Raiders began to move on.
Gruden coached normally this past Sunday in a 20-9 loss against the Chicago Bears, so it seemed that the Raiders and Gruden had gotten past the incident. However, more emails surfaced throughout the day on Monday, and, during the ESPN Monday Night Football broadcast, it was announced that Gruden would be resigning from coaching duties in the wake of the controversy his emails had presented.
Gruden’s choice of words and insults would have been problematic in every other scenario, but seeing as the Las Vegas Raiders are currently the only team in the NFL with an openly gay player, it seemed impossible that some, if not all members of the locker room would be able to recover the relationship following the new developments.
On top of everything Gruden has said, he has also been accused of passing around topless photos of Washington cheerleaders from swimsuit photoshoots to other coaches throughout the league. These accusations correlate to other ongoing investigations within the Washington Football Team’s organization.
Gruden issued a statement regarding his resignation that said, “I have resigned as the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. 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.”
Critics and the media haven’t taken too kindly to Gruden’s apology, drawing an incredible amount of negative attention to both Gruden’s most recent organization [the Raiders], and organizations that have been aligned with Gruden in the past. That attention has led to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers removing Gruden from their Ring of Honor, Madden completely removing Gruden from all of their video games, and several other companies taking measures to distance themselves from him.
Following the resignation of coach Gruden, special teams coordinator Rich Bissaccia has been elevated to interim head coach. Bissaccia has been coaching in the NFL, though never at the head coach level, since 2002. He’s spent most of his tenure in the NFL as a special teams coordinator, but has notably served as assistant head coach to the Chargers, Cowboys, Buccaneers and Raiders in the past.
The Las Vegas Raiders began their season 3-0 looking like a potential powerhouse in the AFC. Since the beginning of the Gruden controversy, they are 0-2 and have lost their head coach.