There was little sympathy from NFL players past and present on Tuesday for Jon Gruden following his resignation from the Las Vegas Raiders.
Gruden quit his post after posting emails in which he used racist, homophobic and misogynistic language. In an email that came to light on Monday, he lamented the editorial staff of the NFL “queers” after the St. Louis Rams picked Michael Sam, who is gay, in 2014. In another, published Friday, he described the head of the NFL Players Association. DeMaurice Smith, who is black, as having “lips the size of michellin tires”.
In an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said, “Those opinions don’t belong in the game… that shit doesn’t fly. Rodgers, one of the NFL’s foremost players, added that he didn’t believe Gruden’s emails reflected the league.
“I can say with real honesty and pride that these opinions are not shared with the players… the locker room allows you to have amazing conversations and it’s the best way to grow, learn, change and you. improve, ”he said.
McAfee, who played for the Indianapolis Colts before he entered the media, said Gruden had no excuse. “You can’t just plead ignorance, you can’t just say ‘I didn’t mean to hurt anyone.’ Because it’s very obvious that if you’re ready to save it and type it in, you’re probably using it every day, ”McAfee said.
Keyshawn Johnson, who was coached by Gruden when they won the Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2002 season, was more direct.
“He’s always been an impostor to me. … Since day one, he’s been a used car salesman. And people bought him because he inherited a championship team built by Tony Dungy and Rich McKay, ”Johnson said on his ESPN radio show.
Johnson expanded on his point in a subsequent appearance on ESPN’s First Take. “Dude, this guy is an impostor. You don’t seem to understand that he is selling you something and you are buying it, ”he said. “He’s been doing this for years. … Talking behind people’s backs was one of his traits in Tampa.
Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin also worked with Gruden at the Buccaneers. “I am saddened for the organization of the Raiders. I am saddened by the people who were offended by it. I am saddened for Coach Gruden. It’s a sad comment. This is the only opinion I want to share at this point, ”he said on Tuesday.
After Sunday’s game and before Monday’s emails went public, Raiders pass carrier Yannick Ngakoue was asked what the team’s black players thought of Gruden’s description of Smith. He replied: “No comment”. In June, Ngakoue’s teammate Carl Nassib became the first active NFL player to declare himself gay. At the time, Gruden told ESPN, “I learned a long time ago what makes a man different is what makes him great. “
In other emails that surfaced on Monday, Gruden called NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a “queer” and “ignorant anti-football pussy”; said Eric Reid, one of the first players to kneel alongside Colin Kaepernick during the national anthem in protest against police brutality, should be sacked; called then vice president Joe Biden a “nervous and helpless cat”; and exchanged pictures of women wearing only bikini bottoms.
Gruden is known for his pugnacious and outspoken personality and won the Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2002 season. He went on to become a mainstay of the ESPN commentary before resuming his coaching career with the Raiders. in 2018.