One of the NFL's most popular and high-profile coaches resigned Monday following reports of emails in which he used derogatory language about Black and gay people and women.
Jon Gruden stepped down as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders amidst an uproar over language he used in years-old emails.
Included in the emails were ones in which he used derogatory language in 2011 about NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith, who is black, and about former draftee Michael Sam, who in 2014 became the first player to be drafted by an NFL team after publicly coming out as gay.
Gruden is best known for winning a Super Bowl as head of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he coached from 2002 to 2008, and as working as an analyst on ABC's Monday Night Football broadcast from 2009 to 2017. He coached the Raiders from 1998 to 2001 and from 2018 to 2021.
He was under a 10-year contract worth $100 million.
"I have resigned as Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders," Gruden said in a statement. "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."
The New York Times broke the news about the emails, which were discovered while the NFL was conducting an investigation into another team, Washington. That investigation involved reviewing more than 650,000 emails, according to ESPN.
The Raiders are 3-2 this season.
NBC analyst Tony Dungy, who also coached the Buccaneers and won a Super Bowl in Indianapolis, said Monday that "given the apparent pattern of behavior the Raiders did the appropriate thing in terminating Jon Gruden." Dungy was the first Black head coach to win a Super Bowl.
"That being said, if Jon Gruden shows TRUE remorse – and more importantly changes his mindset and actions – I would forgive him," Dungy said. "As Christians, that's what the Bible commands us to do because that's what God does for us. I know that's not popular, but it's biblical."
That being said, if Jon Gruden shows TRUE remorse-and more importantly changes his mindset and actions-I would forgive him. As Christians that’s what the Bible commands us to do because that’s what God does for us. I know that’s not popular but it’s biblical. pic.twitter.com/yrhFU3i7o7— Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) October 12, 2021
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Ethan Miller/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.