Sep 19, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden looks on from the sidelines against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Las Vegas won 26-17.  Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Ex-Raiders coach Jon Gruden sues NFL, contends emails ‘selectively leaked’

Former Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden is suing the National Football League and commissioner Roger Goodell, with his attorney contending emails that led to Gruden’s resignation were “selectively leaked” to “force him out of his job.”

Gruden resigned Oct. 11 after the emails revealed derogatory comments he made about Goodell, players union chief DeMaurice Smith and various team owners as well as statements categorized as racist, misogynistic and homophobic. The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal reported extensively about the content of the emails, which were uncovered as part of the league’s investigation into the operation of the Washington Football Team.

“There is no explanation or justification for why Gruden’s emails were the only ones made public out of the 650,000 emails collected in the NFL’s investigation of the Washington Football Team or why the emails were held for months before being released in the middle of the Raiders’ season,” said Adam Hosmer-Henner, who is representing Gruden, in a statement.

The NFL responded with a statement of its own.

“The allegations are entirely meritless and the NFL will vigorously defend against these claims,” the league said.

The emails were sent from 2011-18, when Gruden was the analyst on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.”

Gruden signed a 10-year, $100 million contract in 2018 to return to coaching. He had a 22-31 record over the past three-plus seasons in his second stint with the Raiders, including 3-2 this season. He coached the Raiders from 1998-2001, then moved on to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2002-08. Overall, he has a 117-112 NFL coaching record and led Tampa Bay to its first Super Bowl win in 2002.

The Raiders are 2-1 under interim head coach Rich Bisaccia and have a 5-3 overall mark, tying them with the Los Angeles Raiders for the best record in the AFC West.

–Field Level Media

Oct 10, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis is pictured before the start of a game between the Raiders and the Chicago Bears at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders owner Mark Davis favors release of WFT report

Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis told reporters Wednesday that he is in favor of the release of a written report pertaining to the findings of the Washington Football Team investigation.

“Probably. Yeah, I think that there should be,” Davis said, sitting in a high-backed chair, wearing a Raiders satin Starter jacket and a backpack. He made the comments at the NFL league meetings.

It was the leak of a select few of 650,000 emails the league reviewed as part of the investigation into potential workplace misconduct in the Washington organization that led to the resignation of Raiders coach Jon Gruden on Oct. 11. Some of the comments in Gruden’s emails were characterized as homophobic, misogynistic and racist.

Commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday that the league will not release a report into the investigation, citing the request for anonymity made by some of those who were interviewed by investigators.

“We’re very conscious of making sure we’re protecting those who came forward,” Goodell said. “They were incredibly brave, incredibly open, and we respect the pain that they probably went through all over again to come forward. That was a very high priority.”

Davis is the first owner to call for the release of investigative materials, breaking rank with his peers, apparently. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said earlier Wednesday that owners were “very satisfied with the NFL holding Dan Snyder accountable.”

Snyder, who owns the Washington Football Team, was replaced as head of the team’s day-to-day operations as a result of the report, with his wife, Tanya, taking over for the immediate future. The team also received a $10 million fine based on the investigation’s findings.

Davis also said he was upset by the timing of the release of the Gruden emails — sent well before he coached the Raiders — because the league had the emails before the season started. Had Davis been informed earlier, he could have made a coaching change, had he desired to, before the start of training camp.

Asked if the team had been treated unfairly by the NFL, Davis had this to say:

“We’re Raiders. We’re used to this.”

The Raiders are 2-0 under interim coach Rich Bisaccia. At 5-2, they are in first place in the AFC West.

–Field Level Media

Sep 13, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden watches game action against the Baltimore Ravens during the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders owner on Gruden emails: “We don’t stand for it”

Four days after offering a snarky “no comment” in response to the Jon Gruden email scandal, Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis changed his tune on Sunday.

“Listen,” Davis said outside the Raiders’ locker room, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “The Raiders stand for diversity, inclusion and social justice. We always have and we always will. The emails that came out are not what we stand for. So, Jon Gruden is no longer head coach of the Raiders.

“There’s not much more I can say. All the talking heads are making up all sorts of stuff. That’s all it is. We don’t stand for it.”

Gruden resigned Monday after leaked emails revealed that he had made derogatory, misogynistic and homophobic comments before becoming Raiders head coach.

Asked about Gruden’s resignation on Wednesday, Davis said “I have no comment. Ask the NFL. They have all the answers.”

The Raiders improved to 4-2 on Sunday by defeating the Broncos 34-24 in Denver in their first game under interim head coach Rich Bisaccia.

“It was one of the best games I have seen us play in a long time,” Davis said. “I thought it was fantastic. All three phases of the game. My emotions are that I’m excited that we looked good and are moving towards the future.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 19, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden looks on from the sidelines against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Las Vegas won 26-17.  Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Raiders, Jon Gruden expected to reach contract settlement

The Las Vegas Raiders and former head coach Jon Gruden are expected to work out a financial settlement following his resignation last week, NFL Network reported.

Gruden signed a 10-year, $100 million contract in 2018 to return to coaching. He had been ESPN’s analyst on “Monday Night Football.”

He resigned Monday after leaked emails revealed derogatory comments he made about commissioner Roger Goodell, players union chief DeMaurice Smith and various team owners as well as statements categorized as misogynistic and homophobic.

Per the NFL Network report, Gruden, 58, has about $40 million unpaid on his deal.

Gruden had a 22-31 record over the past three-plus seasons in his second stint with the Raiders, including 3-2 this season. He coached the Raiders from 1998-2001, then moved on to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2002-08. Overall, he has a 117-112 NFL coaching record and led Tampa Bay to its first Super Bowl win in 2002.

–Field Level Media

Sep 26, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib (94) wears airpods before the game against the Miami Dolphins at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders DE Carl Nassib back at practice after personal day

After being granted a personal day Wednesday and missing practice in the wake of the Jon Gruden controversy, which included past emails that revealed several anti-gay slurs, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib returned and was a full participant at team workouts Thursday.

Nassib, who became the first openly gay active NFL player when he made the announcement in June, was given the day off Wednesday, with Raiders general manager Mike Mayock telling reporters that Nassib “said he’s got a lot to process” amid the scandal that led to Gruden’s resignation Monday.

Among the email messages the Wall Street Journal and New York Times published over the past week was a reference to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell that included an anti-gay slur. Gruden used a different slur while writing about Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team. Sam was selected by the then-St. Louis Rams in the seventh round in 2014 but never played a regular-season game in the league.

“He’s pretty much a lone wolf when it comes to that,” Raiders tight end Darren Waller said of Nassib Wednesday. “Nobody should be able to tell him how to feel. Nobody should be able to tell him how to grieve. He deserves to take time for himself because that’s a lot to process.”

Among other Raiders Thursday, running back Josh Jacobs did not practice because of an undisclosed illness. Defensive tackles Johnathan Hankins (hip) and Quinton Jefferson (back) also spent the day on the sidelines. Defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (rest, knee) and safety Johnathan Abram (shoulder, calf) were among those who practiced on a limited basis.

The 3-2 Raiders visit the 3-2 Denver Broncos on Sunday, with both teams entering on two-game losing streaks.

–Field Level Media

Sep 19, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden looks on from the sidelines against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Las Vegas won 26-17.  Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Bucs to remove Jon Gruden from team’s Ring of Honor

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced Tuesday that they are removing Jon Gruden from the team’s Ring of Honor.

The announcement comes one day after Gruden resigned as the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders in the wake of further allegations of inappropriate emails.

“The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have advocated for purposeful change in the areas of race relations, gender equality, diversity and inclusion for many years,” the Buccaneers’ statement read. “While we acknowledge Jon Gruden’s contributions on the field, his actions go against our core values as an organization. Therefore, he will no longer continue to be a member of the Buccaneers Ring of Honor.”

The New York Times reported Monday the existence of numerous emails that included homophobic or misogynistic terms. That news followed a Friday report from the Wall Street Journal that Gruden used racist language in a 2011 email when describing the appearance of DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFL Players Association. Gruden apologized but said he didn’t remember writing the email.

Gruden also allegedly used foul terms to describe NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, including an anti-gay slur, and used a different anti-gay slur while writing about Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team. Sam was selected by the then-St. Louis Rams in the seventh round in 2014 but never played a regular-season game in the league.

Gruden, 58, has sandwiched stints as the head coach of the Raiders around a run with the Buccaneers. He posted a 57-55 record with Tampa Bay from 2002-08, including a win in Super Bowl XXXVII after the 2002 season.

–Field Level Media

Oct 10, 2021; Paradise, Nevada, USA;  Las Vegas Raiders head coach John Gruden is pictured before the start of a game against the Chicago Bears at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Jon Gruden resigns as Raiders coach

Jon Gruden resigned as the Las Vegas Raiders’ head coach Monday night in the wake of further allegations of inappropriate emails.

The New York Times reported Monday the existence of numerous emails that included homophobic or misogynistic terms. That news followed a Friday report from the Wall Street Journal that Gruden used racist language in a 2011 email when describing the appearance of DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFL Players Association. Gruden apologized but said he didn’t remember writing the email.

Gruden said in a statement Monday night, “I have resigned as 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.”

He reportedly told team owner Mark Davis of his decision to step down in a face-to-face meeting.

Rich Bisaccia, the Raiders’ assistant head coach and special teams coordinator, likely will replace Gruden as head coach on an interim basis, according to ESPN.

The Times reported that the NFL, in the midst of an unrelated investigation, flagged many emails written by Gruden. He allegedly used disparaging terms while expressing opposition to women serving as NFL referees, the league drafting or including gay players and the player protests while the national anthem is played pregame.

Gruden also allegedly used foul terms to describe NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, including an anti-gay slur, and used a different anti-gay slur while writing about Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team. Sam was selected by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round in 2014 but never played a regular-season game in the league.

The Raiders currently employ the only active openly gay NFL player, defensive end Carl Nassib, who has 1.5 sacks in five games this year.

Smith tweeted Monday, “The email from Jon Gruden — and some of the reaction to it — confirms that the fight against racism, racist tropes and intolerance is not over. This is not about an email as much as it is about a pervasive belief by some that people who look like me can be treated as less.”

Gruden, 58, signed a 10-year, $100 million deal to return to coaching with the Raiders in 2018.

The Raiders are off to a 3-2 start, leaving Gruden 22-31 in his second stint as the team’s head coach. He was 38-35 in the regular season while coaching the then-Oakland Raiders from 1998-2001, and he posted a 57-55 regular-season mark with the Buccaneers from 2002-08, leading Tampa Bay to a Super Bowl championship after the 2002 season.

–Field Level Media

Sep 19, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden looks at his play chart against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. Las Vegas won 26-17.  Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

More emails surface as NFL monitors Jon Gruden situation

More emails from Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden emails were forwarded by the NFL to the team after a racially sensitive communication surfaced last week, ESPN reported Monday.

According to the report, the NFL is monitoring the situation to see how the Raiders handle the situation.

In a report Friday from the Wall Street Journal, Gruden used racist language in a 2011 email when describing the appearance of DeMaurice Smith, the Black executive director of the NFLPA.

Gruden was working as ESPN’s color commentator for “Monday Night Football” at the time the initial email in question was sent.

The newspaper reached Gruden for comment, and he apologized while saying he did not recall writing the email in question. “I’m really sorry,” he said. Gruden again apologized Sunday after the Raiders were upset 20-9 by the Chicago Bears. Also on Sunday, he admitted to writing a series of emails a decade ago that disparaged NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and criticized several team owners.

“I can’t tell you how sick I am,” Gruden said. “I apologize again to De Smith. But I feel good about who I am, what I’ve done my entire life. And I apologize for the insensitive remarks I had. I had no racial intentions with those remarks at all. … I’m not like that at all. But I apologize.”

According to the Journal, the league uncovered the email while reviewing 650,000 emails during its investigation into the Washington Football Team’s workplace culture.

It is unclear whether Gruden will face punishment from the league or the Raiders.

“The email from Jon Gruden denigrating DeMaurice Smith is appalling, abhorrent and wholly contrary to the NFL’s values,” the NFL said in a statement. “We condemn the statement and regret any harm that its publication may inflict on Mr. Smith or anyone else.”

Smith, who has served as the players association’s executive director since 2009, told the Journal that it was “not the first racist comment that I’ve heard, and it probably will not be the last.”

Smith further addressed the subject on social media Monday.

“The email from Jon Gruden – and some of the reaction to it – confirms that the fight against racism, racist tropes and intolerance is not over,” Smith said in a four-post thread on Twitter. “This is not about an email as much as it is about a pervasive belief by some that people who look like me can be treated as less.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 19, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden looks on from the sidelines against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Las Vegas won 26-17.  Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Jon Gruden admits disparaging commissioner Roger Goodell in email

Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden confessed he disparaged NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and criticized several team owners in a series of emails 10 years ago, an admission made during an interview with his former employer, ESPN.

Gruden acknowledged sending the emails in 2011 amid a labor dispute that led to a lockout. The emails, sent at a time he was the game analyst on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football,” are being scrutinized following reports Friday that he made a racial comment to describe DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association, in one message.

“I was in a bad frame of mind at the time [in 2011], and I called Roger Goodell a [expletive] in one of these emails too,” the Raiders coach told ESPN on Friday night for a report that aired Sunday. “They were keeping players and coaches from doing what they love with a lockout. There also were a lot of things being reported publicly about the safety of the sport that I love. I was on a mission with high school football during that time, and there were a lot of parents who were scared about letting their kids play football. It just didn’t sit well with me.”

Gruden did not identify the owners he criticized in regard to the labor negotiations. Regarding Goodell, ESPN said Gruden referred to him with a “vulgar description.”

ESPN reported Raiders owner Mark Davis and team executives were in possession of the disparaging emails, and Gruden said he knew there were at least five of them. Davis said Friday that the content of the email that referenced Smith was “disturbing.”

Gruden has acknowledged he insulted Smith, saying he “ashamed” but “never had a racial thought” at the time he wrote the message.

The NFL is weighing possible disciplinary actions against Gruden, even though he was out of the NFL at the time.

Rod Graves, the executive director of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, told ESPN that Gruden’s words about Smith, who is Black, warrant punishment.

“The insensitive remarks made by Jon Gruden about DeMaurice Smith are indicative of the racism that exists on many levels of professional sports,” Graves said in a statement Sunday morning. “Furthermore, it reveals that the journey for African Americans and other minorities in sports, is riddled with irrepressible mindsets at the highest level. It is our hope that the League and team ownership will address this matter with a remedy commensurate with these painful words. This is yet another inflection point in a society fraught with cynical social blinders, absent of respect for the intellectual capacity and leadership of minorities. When will it end?”

Gruden, 58, worked in the ESPN booth from the 2009 through 2017 seasons. Prior to ESPN, he coached the then-Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, leading the latter to their first Super Bowl title following the 2002 season, before rejoining the Raiders in 2018.

He has a career 117-111 record, including 3-1 this season. The Raiders host the Chicago Bears (2-2) on Sunday.

–Field Level Media

Sep 19, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden looks at his play chart against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. Las Vegas won 26-17.  Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Jon Gruden described DeMaurice Smith with racist trope in 2011

Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden used racist language when describing DeMaurice Smith, the Black executive director of the NFLPA, in an email in 2011, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

“Dumboriss Smith has lips the size of michellin (sic) tires,” Gruden wrote in an email to then-Washington Football Team president Bruce Allen amid an NFL lockout.

Gruden was not coaching at the time, but rather working as ESPN’s color commentator for “Monday Night Football.”

The newspaper reached Gruden for comment, and he apologized while saying he did not recall writing the email in question. “I’m really sorry,” he said.

Gruden added in comments to ESPN that he felt “ashamed” and had given his players forewarning Friday that the report was coming out.

“I’m ashamed I insulted D. Smith,” Gruden told ESPN. “I never had a racial thought when I used it. … I’m embarrassed by what’s out there. I certainly never meant for it to sound that bad.”

According to the Journal, the league uncovered the email while reviewing 650,000 emails during its investigation into the Washington Football Team’s workplace culture.

It is unclear whether Gruden will face punishment from the league or the Raiders.

“The email from Jon Gruden denigrating DeMaurice Smith is appalling, abhorrent and wholly contrary to the NFL’s values,” the league said in a statement. “We condemn the statement and regret any harm that its publication may inflict on Mr. Smith or anyone else.”

Smith, who has served as the players association’s executive director since 2009, told the Wall Street Journal that it was “not the first racist comment that I’ve heard and it probably will not be the last.”

“This is a thick-skin job for someone with dark skin, just like it always has been for many people who look like me and work in corporate America,” he said. “You know people are sometimes saying things behind your back that are racist just like you see people talk and write about you using thinly coded and racist language.”

–Field Level Media