When the vaunted N.F.L. coach Jon Gruden was confronted with a racist e mail he had despatched in 2011 to insult the pinnacle of the gamers’ union, he stated he went too far however didn’t have “a blade of racism” in him.
However league officers as a part of a separate office misconduct investigation that didn’t straight contain him have discovered that Gruden, now the coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, casually and continuously unleashed misogynistic and homophobic language over a number of years to denigrate folks across the sport and to mock a few of the league’s momentous adjustments.
He denounced the emergence of ladies as referees, the drafting of a homosexual participant and the tolerance of gamers protesting throughout the taking part in of the nationwide anthem, based on emails reviewed by The New York Instances.
Gruden’s messages have been despatched to Bruce Allen, the previous president of the Washington Soccer Group, and others, whereas he was working for ESPN as a coloration analyst throughout “Monday Evening Soccer,” the sports activities community’s weekly prime-time telecast of N.F.L. video games. Within the emails, Gruden known as the league’s commissioner, Roger Goodell, a “faggot” and a “clueless anti soccer pussy” and stated that Goodell mustn’t have pressured Jeff Fisher, then the coach of the Rams, to draft “queers,” a reference to Michael Sam, a homosexual participant chosen by the group in 2014.
In quite a few emails throughout a seven-year interval ending in early 2018, Gruden criticized Goodell and the league for attempting to scale back concussions and stated that Eric Reid, a participant who had demonstrated throughout the taking part in of the nationwide anthem, ought to be fired. In a number of situations, Gruden used a homophobic slur to seek advice from Goodell and offensive language to explain some N.F.L. homeowners, coaches and journalists who cowl the league.
Gruden, Allen, the N.F.L., and the Raiders didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.
Though not with a group on the time, Gruden was nonetheless influential within the league and extremely coveted as a coach. He had received a Tremendous Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers following the 2002 season. And in 2018, he was employed for his second stint as the pinnacle coach of the Raiders franchise, which incorporates defensive lineman Carl Nassib, the primary lively N.F.L. participant to publicly declare that he’s homosexual.
The league stated final week that it shared emails with the Raiders by which Gruden made derogatory feedback.
Gruden advised ESPN on Sunday that the league was reviewing emails by which he criticized Goodell, and defined that he had been upset about group homeowners’ lockout of the gamers in 2011, when a few of the emails have been written. Gruden stated in that interview that had used an expletive to seek advice from Goodell and that he did so as a result of he disapproved of Goodell’s emphasis on security, which he believed was scaring mother and father into steering their sons away from soccer.
However Gruden’s conduct was not restricted to 2011. Gruden exchanged emails with Allen and different males that included pictures of ladies carrying solely bikini bottoms, together with one photograph of two Washington group cheerleaders.
Gruden additionally criticized President Obama throughout his re-election marketing campaign in 2012, in addition to then-vice president Joe Biden, whom Gruden known as a “nervous clueless pussy.” He used comparable phrases to explain Goodell and DeMaurice Smith, the chief director of the N.F.L. Gamers Affiliation.
The league is already investigating Gruden because of one other e mail he wrote to Allen in 2011 by which he used racist phrases to explain Smith, who’s Black.
In that e mail, Gruden, who’s white and was working for ESPN on the time, criticized Smith’s intelligence and used a racist trope to explain his face. The correspondence was first reported by The Wall Avenue Journal and confirmed by The New York Instances.
The league, Smith, and Mark Davis, the proprietor of the Raiders, all denounced Gruden’s feedback, however the coach to date has not been penalized and he coached his group in its sport on Sunday in opposition to the Chicago Bears. Gruden stated Friday that he didn’t bear in mind sending the e-mail and that his language “went too far,” including, “I by no means had a blade of racism in me.”
Gruden’s emails to Allen, who was fired by the Washington Soccer Group on the finish of 2019, have been reviewed as a part of an N.F.L. investigation of office misconduct throughout the franchise that ended this summer time. Goodell instructed league executives to have a look at greater than 650,000 emails throughout the previous few months, together with these by which Gruden made offensive remarks. Final week, Goodell obtained a abstract of their findings and the league despatched the Raiders a few of the emails written by Gruden.
Within the exchanges, Gruden used his private e mail account whereas Allen wrote from his group account. In some circumstances, Allen initiated the conversations and Gruden chimed in, whereas in different circumstances, they commerce vulgar feedback a number of instances.
A number of the emails between Gruden and Allen additionally included businessmen mates, Ed Droste, the co-founder of Hooters; Jim McVay, an govt who has run the Outback Bowl, yearly held in Tampa, Fla.; and Nick Reader, the founding father of PDQ Eating places, a Tampa-based fried hen franchise. The exchanges start as early as 2010 whereas Gruden was an analyst for “Monday Evening Soccer.” In 2018, he signed a 10-year, $100 million contract to educate the Raiders.
Droste, McVay, and Reader didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.
Gruden and Allen are longtime mates and colleagues. Allen was an senior govt with the Raiders from 1995 to 2003, when he labored with Gruden, who was head coach of the group from 1998 to 2001. Gruden grew to become head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002 and beat the Raiders within the Tremendous Bowl that season. Allen grew to become the final supervisor there in 2004. Allen and Gruden each left the Buccaneers after the 2008 season. Whereas Gruden moved on to a broadcast function with ESPN, Allen grew to become the final supervisor in Washington in 2010 and later the group’s president.
Taken collectively, the emails present an unvarnished look into the clubby tradition of 1 N.F.L. circle of friends, the place white male determination makers felt comfy sharing pornographic photographs, deriding the league insurance policies, and jocularly sharing homophobic language.
Allen is the son of legendary N.F.L. coach George Allen, and Gruden — whose father coached at Notre Dame and whose brother, Jay, was head coach in Washington from 2014 to 2019 — are a part of an unique community that cycles between N.F.L. groups, networks and corporations affiliated with the league.
Their banter flies within the face of the league’s public denouncements of racism and sexism and its guarantees to be extra inclusive amid criticism for not listening to the issues of Black gamers, who make up about 70 p.c of rosters. The N.F.L. has prior to now struggled to self-discipline personnel who’ve dedicated acts of home violence and been condemned for failing to adequately handle harassment of ladies, together with N.F.L. cheerleaders.
In June, the N.F.L. congratulated Nassib after he grew to become the primary lively N.F.L. participant to publicly declare that he’s homosexual. Goodell stated he was “pleased with Carl for courageously sharing his reality right now. Illustration issues.”
Privately, Allen and Gruden appeared to have few boundaries in expressing homophobic and transphobic language. In a single e mail from 2015 that features Droste, McVay and others, Gruden crudely requested Allen to inform Bryan Glazer, whose household owns the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the place Gruden coached till 2008, to carry out oral intercourse on him. Allen stated Glazer would “take you up on that supply.”
Allen and Gruden additionally mocked Caitlyn Jenner, who obtained an award from ESPN in 2015 after she transitioned.
In an e mail from 2015, Allen and Gruden criticized a congressional invoice that aimed to pressure the Washington franchise to vary its identify, which some Native Individuals and others have denounced as a slur. Once more utilizing a vulgar time period, Gruden took purpose at Goodell and his employees despite the fact that the commissioner had initially defended the group’s proper to maintain the identify.
In 2017, Droste shared with the group a sexist meme of a feminine referee to which Gruden replied, “Good job roger.”
That very same yr, Gruden was despatched a hyperlink to an article about N.F.L. gamers calling on Goodell to assist their efforts selling racial equality and prison justice reform. Gruden had recommendation for Goodell:
“He wants to cover in his concussion protocol tent,” he wrote.