NFL-NFL community on Gruden's resignation as Raiders coach: 'had to go'

FILE PHOTO: Las Vegas Raiders' head coach Jon Gruden is pictured before the start of a game against the Chicago Bears at Allegiant Stadium in Paradise, Nevada, U.S. October 10, 2021. Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - Individuals from the NFL community and beyond condemned former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden, who resigned after reports emerged that he had sent emails which included racist, homophobic and misogynistic terms.

Gruden, who resigned on Monday five games into the fourth season of a 10-year, $100 million contract, came under fire in recent days following reports in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times that cited emails dating back to 2010.

"You can't be racist, homophobic and misogynistic. You shouldn't be any of them," free-agent quarterback Robert Griffin III wrote on Twitter.

According to the reports, Gruden used a racial trope to describe NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, mocked the drafting of a gay player in 2014, the hiring of women referees and tolerance for player protests aimed at promoting racial justice.

"Jon Gruden had to go, immediately. And not one person should blame 'cancel culture', this is called accountability. Period." tweeted Nigerian-American former NFL linebacker Emmanuel Acho.

In a statement late on Monday announcing his resignation, the 58-year-old Gruden said he did not want to be a distraction and never meant to hurt anyone.

Gruden returned to coaching in 2018 after a nine-year stint as an ESPN Monday Night Football analyst when he signed a deal to re-join the Raiders.

He initially coached the Raiders from 1998-2001 and then was traded to Tampa Bay where he guided the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl championship in his first season while with the team from 2002-2008.

According to a Wall Street Journal report last Friday, Gruden wrote in a 2011 email to then-Washington president Bruce Allen during the NFL lockout that the NFLPA head Smith, who is Black, has "lips the size of michellin tires."

Gruden told ESPN that he did not recall writing the email but said he routinely used the term "rubber lips" to "refer to a guy I catch as lying ... he can't spit it out."

"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 statement late Monday.

"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 apologised on Sunday for the remarks and said he was not racist and "don't have an ounce of racism in me".

Gruden ultimately announced his resignation after the New York Times reported on Monday that he used misogynistic and anti-gay language in numerous emails during a seven-year period.

"This kind of behavior is unacceptable and reprehensible. Las Vegas is a welcoming city and the Raiders are a part of our family," Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak wrote. "There's no place for hate here."

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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