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Former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden resigned Monday after homophobic, misogynistic and racist emails sent from 2011-18 surfaced. In the emails, Gruden called NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a “faggot” and a “clueless anti-football pussy”, saying that the commissioner should not have pressured then-Rams coach Jeff Fisher to draft “queers” in reference to former player Michael Sam, an openly gay player chosen by the team in 2014.
Fisher took to Twitter to respond to the emails from Gruden. He didn’t hold back.
“Michael Sam was the SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2013, and we selected him in the 2014 NFL Draft based on his defensive production and pass rushing skill set on the field,” Fisher wrote in a statement posted to Twitter“As a head coach for over 20 years, we drafted or didn’t draft, players based on a variety of qualities. Their sexual orientation would never — and should never — play a part in the decision-making process.
“I continue to support Michael, and his decision to come out as the first draft eligible openly gay player in the league. It took courage to serve as a role model for those competitive football players who may also happen to be gay. Lastly, the NFL never encouraged or discouraged me regarding the selection of a potential prospect.”
Gruden’s disparaging remarks came to light during the NFL’s workplace misconduct investigation into the Washington Football Team. The league uncovered a message from Gruden to former Washington general manager Bruce Allen in which Gruden had described Executive Director of the National Football League Players Association DeMaurice Smith by a racial trope, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Gruden reportedly wrote, “Dum­b­oriss (sic) Smith has lips the size of michelin (sic) tires.”
The message was sent to Allen in July 2011, at the height of the NFL lockout. At the time Gruden was out of coaching and working at ESPN, where he called Monday Night Football, in addition to serving as an analyst for other broadcasts. But Gruden’s behavior was not limited to 2011, as he reportedly exchanged emails with Allen and other men that featured photos of bikini-clad women, including a pair of Washington team cheerleaders.
Gruden’s former team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, also came out and took action against him, removing him from their Ring of Honor.
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“The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have advocated for purposeful change in the areas of race relations, gender equality, diversity and inclusion for many years,” the team said in a statement. “While we acknowledge Jon Gruden’s contributions on the field, his actions go against our core values as an organization. Therefore, he will no longer continue to be a member of the Buccaneers Ring of Honor.”
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