There was little sympathy from NFL players past and present Tuesday for Jon Gruden after his resignation from the Las Vegas Raiders.
Gruden resigned from his post after posting emails in which he used racist, homophobic and misogynistic language. In an email that surfaced Monday, he lamented that the NFL recruited “queers” after the St. Louis Rams selected Michael Sam, who is gay, in 2014. In another, published Friday, he described the director of the NFL Players Association. DeMaurice Smith, who is Black, has “lips the size of michellin tires.”
In an appearance on the Pat McAfee Show, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said, “Those opinions have no place in the game … that shit doesn’t fly.” Rodgers, one of the NFL’s most prominent players, added that he doesn’t think Gruden’s emails reflect the league.
“I can say with real honesty and pride that those opinions are not shared with the players … the dressing room allows you to have incredible conversations and that is the best way to grow, learn, change and improve yourself,” he said.
McAfee, who played for the Indianapolis Colts before his move to the media, said Gruden had no excuses. “You can’t just plead ignorance, you can’t just say ‘I didn’t mean to hurt anyone.’ Because it’s very evident that if you’re willing to record and write it, you’re probably using it every day, ”said McAfee.
Keyshawn Johnson, who was coached by Gruden when they won the Super Bowl alongside the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2002 season, was more forthright.
“It has always been a fraud for me. … From day one, he has been a used car salesman. And people bought it because they inherited a championship team built by Tony Dungy and Rich McKay, “Johnson said on his ESPN radio show.
Johnson expanded on his views during a later appearance on ESPN’s First Take. “Man, this guy is a fraud. It seems that they do not understand that he is selling them something and you are buying it, “he said. “He has been doing that for years. … Talking behind people’s backs, that was one of his traits in Tampa. “
After Sunday’s game, and before Monday’s emails were made public, Raiders pass back Yannick Ngakoue was asked how the team’s black players felt about Gruden’s description of Smith. He replied, “No comment.” In June, Ngakoue’s teammate Carl Nassib became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. At the time, Gruden told ESPN: “I learned a long time ago that what makes a man different is what makes him great.”
In other emails that appeared Monday, Gruden called NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a “fag” and a “clueless anti-football jerk”; said Eric Reid, one of the first players to kneel next to Colin Kaepernick during the national anthem in protest of police brutality, should be fired; called then-Vice President Joe Biden a “nervous, unconscious kitty”; and they exchanged photos of women wearing only bikini bottoms.
Gruden is known for his aggressive and outspoken personality and won the Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2002 season. He later became a mainstay in the ESPN comment booth before resuming his coaching career with the Raiders in 2018. .
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism