Raiders Coach’s Emails Included Homophobic and Misogynistic Comments
Gruden’s messages were sent to Bruce Allen, the former president of the Washington Football Team, and others, while he was working for ESPN as a color analyst during “Monday Night Football,” the sports network’s weekly prime-time telecast of N.F.L. games. In the emails, Gruden called the league’s commissioner, Roger Goodell, a “faggot” and a “clueless anti football pussy” and said that Goodell should not have pressured Jeff Fisher, then the coach of the Rams, to draft “queers,” a reference to Michael Sam, a gay player chosen by the team in 2014.
In numerous emails during a seven-year period ending in early 2018, Gruden criticized Goodell and the league for trying to reduce concussions and said that Eric Reid, a player who had demonstrated during the playing of the national anthem, should be fired. In several instances, Gruden used a homophobic slur to refer to Goodell and offensive language to describe some N.F.L. owners, coaches and journalists who cover the league.
Gruden, Allen, the N.F.L., and the Raiders did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Although not with a team at the time, Gruden was still influential in the league and highly coveted as a coach. He had won a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers following the 2002 season. And in 2018, he was hired for his second stint as the head coach of the Raiders franchise, which includes defensive lineman Carl Nassib, the first active N.F.L. player to publicly declare that he is gay.
The league said last week that it shared emails with the Raiders in which Gruden made derogatory comments.
Gruden told ESPN on Sunday that the league was reviewing emails in which he criticized Goodell, and explained that he had been upset about team owners’ lockout of the players in 2011, when some of the emails were written. Gruden said in that interview that had used an expletive to refer to Goodell and that he did so because he disapproved of Goodell’s emphasis on safety, which he believed was scaring parents into steering their sons away from football.