John Vogel has many questions after the quick resignation of Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden. The situation has a deeper, more signifigant meaning then what has been portrayed thus far.
This week in the NFL started with a bang, and this time it was Jon Gruden one-upping Urban Meyer.
Several emails that Jon Gruden sent between 2011 and 2018 surfaced leaked to the New York Times. In those emails;
- Gruden made fun of NFLPA President DeMaurice Smith, saying that his “lips the size of Michellin Tires.” He insists that this wasn’t a racial comment, rather an observation, with his explaination that he “never had a racial thought” when he sent the email.
- Gruden called NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a “clueless, anti-football p****.”
- He referred to the NFL hiring and implimenting female referees as the league “virtue signalling.”
- Gruden claimed that Saint Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher had only drafted Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted in 2014, because he was pressured by the Goodell to make history.
Gruden explained that his comments were based on his disagreements with the league’s approach to the game. “I was in a bad frame of mind at the time,” he said, referring to 2011 during the NFL lockout, “and I called Roger Goodell a p**** in one of those emails too. They were keeping the players and coaches from doing what they love with a lockout. There were also many things being reported publicly about the safety of the sport that I love. I was on a mission with high school football during the 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.”
He resigned during the Monday Night Football game this week. “I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction,” he said in his issued statement.
Rick Bisaccia will serve as the team interim coach.
These emails were uncovered while probing into the Washington culture
These emails were found while the league reviewed the misconduct in the Washington franchise, owned by Dan Snyder. The bombshell report published by the Washington Post in August of 2020 revealed many allegations against the leaders in the Washington Football Team’s organization.
Many women were discriminated against. Cheerleaders found out after calendar event photoshoots that their nudes were secretly being taken and sent to owner Dan Snyder. Even play-by-play commentator Larry Michaels knew about it, calling them “the good bits.”
In July, Snyder had stepped down for a few months after his franchise was fined $10M by the NFL and left his wife, Tonya, in charge of day-to-day operations.
Remember, an independent law firm conducted this investigation (which spanned over 650,000 emails and several hundred witnesses) and released no written report on the findings.
Jon Gruden sent these emails while employed with ESPN
Something that hasn’t been mentioned much is that these emails were sent while Gruden was the color commentator on Monday Night Football. Gruden was not employed by the league at this time. He was employed by ESPN.
The emails were sent to former Washington general manager Bruce Allen, who was fired in 2020 after the probe into the Washington franchise had begun. Gruden sent these emails from a personal email account.
ESPN released a simple statement on their former employee. “The comments are clearly repugnant under any circumstance,” they said.
ESPN has struggled to find a suitable booth for the Monday Night Football broadcast ever since Gruden left. No one has so far been able to bring the energy and the expertise that Gruden had on the air.
Many players are defending Jon Gruden
If this doesn’t perk your attention that something is up, I don’t know what will. NFL players, former and current, are defending Gruden publicly and privately. A source reported that when Gruden announced his resignation to the team, a black player hugged him and asked how we could help.
Former Raiders wide receiver Tim Brown, who played with Gruden with the Oakland Raiders from 1998-2001 and again with the Buccaneers in 2004, defended him on a radio interview. “Never have I gotten anything from him that made me pause to think about, ‘hmmm, that didn’t come off right,'” Brown said. “If you know Gruden, if you know anything about him or if you’ve been around him, especially for the length of time that I’ve been knowing him, you would have gotten the hint that, ‘This guy’s not right. There’s something not right about him.’ And there’s no way I would have ever [thought that.].”
Now, the NFL wants to call off the investigation
The NFL announced yesterday that they did not plan to re-open the investigation in light of the leaked Gruden emails.
The NFLPA has requested that the remainder of the 650,000 emails be released from the investigation into the misconduct of the Washington workplace. “It is truly outrageous that after the NFL’s 10-month investigation involving hundreds of witnesses and 650,000 documents related to the longtime culture of harassment and abuse at the Washington Football Team, the only person held accountable and lost their job is the coach of the Las Vegas Raiders,” lawyers Lisa Banks and Debra Katz issued in a joint statement. Banks and Katz also went on to say that “the NFL and Roger Goodell must explain why they appear so intent on protecting the Washington Football Team and owner Dan Snyder.”
Jeff Fisher has also denied the accusations against him from Gruden, claiming that the NFL has never pressured him to select a specific player.
The entire story is incredibly bizarre. As a result, the only thing that can be summarized is that there is much more to come. The NFL is hiding something in those emails, if not many things, and Jon Gruden is the distraction from it.