Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden resigned Monday night amid reports that he repeatedly used homophobic and misogynistic language in a series of emails.
“I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction,” he said in a statement. “Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff, and fans of Raider Nation. I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone.”
Gruden’s resignation came a little more than an hour after The New York Times revealed excerpts of the 58-year-old coach’s emails, which were sent over a period of seven years and obtained by the NFL as part of an unrelated investigation.
The Times reported that, among other things, Gruden used a homophobic slur to describe NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, denigrated one team’s decision to draft a gay player, mocked transgender woman Caitlyn Jenner and suggested that a player who kneeled during the national anthem should be fired.
The Wall Street Journal separately reported Friday that Gruden used a racist trope when describing NFL Players’ Association executive director DeMaurice Smith in a 2011 message.
“Dumboriss [sic] Smith has lips the size of michellin [sic] tires,” he wrote, according to the newspaper.
Gruden apologized for that specific email in a statement to The Wall Street Journal, saying that “I don’t have a racial bone in my body.”
Raiders owner Mark Davis said in a statement that he found it “disturbing” and “not what the Raiders stand for.”
Gruden’s emails were sent between 2011 and 2018, when he was working as a broadcaster for ESPN. They were obtained as part of an unrelated investigation into the culture of the Washington Football Team – an investigation which resulted in a fine, but for which no written report has been released.
According to The New York Times, the emails were sent from Gruden’s personal email account to the team account of then-WFT executive Bruce Allen. The two men had previously worked together in Oakland and Tampa Bay.
NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy confirmed to USA TODAY Sports on Friday that the emails had been uncovered as part of the Washington Football Team investigation and flagged to the league. He said the NFL had shared the emails sent by Gruden with the Raiders.
In response to a request for comment Monday, McCarthy referred USA TODAY Sports to his previous statement on the Smith email, which the league described as “appalling, abhorrent and wholly contrary to the NFL’s values.”
Contact Tom Schad at email@example.com or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.