The Oakland Raiders released a statement on Monday saying that Jon Gruden, the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, apologized again for his 2011 emails, in which he referred to then-Raiders owner Al Davis as “a stupid old man” and said he would not be back with the team.
Jon Gruden is the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. On Monday, he released a statement apologizing again for his emails in 2011 that were published by ESPN. The players in the locker room reacted to this apology in a variety of ways.
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA — When it came to coach Jon Gruden and his 10-year-old incendiary emails that surfaced over the weekend, Raiders players provided defense, apathy, and a no response on Sunday. Gruden also apologized for his language in the missives, which included a racial remark.
Gruden and his players addressed the media after the Raiders’ 20-9 loss to the Chicago Bears at Allegiant Stadium, the team’s second consecutive setback after starting 3-0.
“I’ve been around this man for three years now, and I’ve never felt a particular kind of feeling about him,” Raiders running back Josh Jacobs said of Gruden, who selected him first overall out of Alabama in 2019.
“He’s never rubbed me in that manner before. I mean, what he stated at the beginning of the day is also what he said at the conclusion of the day. But, you know, I have complete faith in him. It was ten years ago, after all. People develop.”
In a Friday morning meeting, Gruden informed the players that an article in The Wall Street Journal would be published claiming that he, as the lead analyst on Monday Night Football for ESPN at the time, had emailed then-Washington Football Team president Bruce Allen, claiming that NFL Players Association president DeMaurice Smith, who is Black, had “lips the size of michellin tires” in an email. In addition, Gruden made a derogatory remark regarding NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Gruden subsequently admitted to ESPN that he used the phrase “rubber lips” to characterize someone he believed was lying, and that he was upset by the lockout and unsuccessful talks between Smith and Goodell at the time.
Denzel Perryman, a linebacker for the Raiders who was acquired from the Carolina Panthers in a Sept. 1 trade, stated on Sunday, “As soon as we exited the meeting room, I let it go. I wasn’t thinking about it. I’m still not paying attention to it. I mean, I’m not sure what he said. To be honest, I don’t give a damn. I’m not sure how long ago that was, but this week my primary attention was on the Bears, not whatever he was up to.”
“No comment on that,” defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, who joined with the Raiders as a free agency last spring, said when asked about how Black players on the club were feeling.
Meanwhile, Gruden said that he had not spoken with the NFL about the emails.
“All I can say is that I’m not a racist,” Gruden said emphatically. “I’m not sure how ill I am. I’d want to apologize to De Smith once again. But I’m proud of who I am and what I’ve accomplished in my life. And please accept my apologies for my inappropriate comments. I didn’t want to offend anybody with those comments, and I’m not like that at all. But please accept my apologies.”
When asked whether he anticipated to hear from the league, Gruden indicated he’d have to wait and see what happens in the coming days.
“I can’t remember a lot of what happened 10 or 12 years ago,” Gruden added, “but I stand here in front of everyone apologizing.” “There isn’t a single ounce of racism in me. I’m a man who enjoys bringing people together. And I’ll keep doing it for the rest of my life. Again, my apologies to De Smith and anybody else I may have upset.”
After Friday’s meeting, Las Vegas quarterback Derek Carr claimed the squad united behind Gruden.
“‘Yes, Coach, that was ten years ago,’ we say as a team. Man, we adore you. ‘We’ve got your back,’ says the narrator.” Carr remarked. “We’re just trying to assist Coach. I know he’s going through a difficult period…. ‘Men, learn from my error,’ he said. We didn’t accept it as it came out when we left that meeting.”
Carr, on the other hand, admitted that the emails might offend people and that the language had caused “pain.”
Carr said, “I adore everyone.” “There isn’t a racist bone in my body. Coach, I’m not certain, does either. I honestly don’t think so.”
When asked whether this scenario might lead Gruden to lose his locker room, Jacobs said no.
“I don’t believe so,” Jacobs said. “We all sort of spoke about how we felt about it and how [Gruden] handles the players,” said one of the players. He works as a player’s coach. As a result, everyone was like… just overthinking things. I don’t believe it will have an impact since our players are all guided by each other.
“The coaches call the plays and everything, but we are all led by each other at the end of the day. As a result, I don’t believe it had a significant impact on the men.”
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Jon Gruden is a former American football coach and current color commentator for ESPN. In 2003, he was hired as head coach of the Oakland Raiders, but his tenure only lasted four games before being fired due to a dispute with Al Davis.
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