Gruden resigned on Monday after reports emerged that he used homophobic, racist and misogynistic language in emails while working as an ESPN analyst.
Russell, who turned bisexual in 2019 and played for the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, told CNN’s New Day he was heartbroken when he heard about the emails and said that the resignation was the bare minimum that the league would have to accept.
“I don’t think it’s enough, I think it’s responsive to investigating what’s going on,” Russell said Tuesday.
“I think the next step the league needs to take is to be proactive in making sure that the coaches they hire, the players they select, the organization they form are inclusive, supportive and are held. to this standard not when things are revealed but all the time.
Critics had demanded that Gruden, who has coached the Raiders since the start of the 2018 season, be fired since the Wall Street Journal reported he used race-insensitive language to describe the executive director of the NFL Players Association. , DeMaurice Smith, in a 2011 email.
On Monday, the New York Times reported that it looked at more emails and found that Gruden had denounced women employed as field officials, a team drafting an openly gay player and tolerance of national anthem protesters.
The Times said the emails were sent to Bruce Allen, the former president of the Washington football team, over a span of seven years, leading many to wonder why he was. allowed to stay in his role for so long. Allen was fired from the organization in December 2019.
On Friday, an NFL spokesperson said the email reported in the Wall Street Journal was discovered as part of an NFL review of malpractice on the Washington football team. which took place this summer.
CNN has again reached out to Gruden, the NFL and the Raiders for comment.
READ: Jon Gruden’s fall is a warning for the NFL
” It’s not acceptable “
“Jon Gruden wasn’t sending himself these emails, there were other people who knew that,” Russell added.
“There were other people involved in the league and it was not controlled for years, so no, resignation is not a responsibility, it is not enough – it is something reactive . “
The Raiders released a statement in which Gruden announced his resignation, saying, “I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone. ”
The statement was criticized for not covering all of the topics that Gruden covered in the emails.
“To say he didn’t want to hurt anyone is not acceptable,” said Russell.
“You know what those words mean these days, what it says to your character, what it says to your organization, and what it will do to your legacy.
“You hurt people, you literally hurt everyone, and there is no statement you can publish to repeat that. ”
“Discover the true thoughts of Jon Gruden”
NFL reporter Ian Rapoport said Gruden had no choice but to step down as head coach, saying he had lost his credibility in the Raiders’ locker room, especially more than Carl Nassib – who became the first active NFL player in league history to announce he’s gay earlier this year – is playing for the team.
“How Jon Gruden, after sending this homophobic email, with players knowing that’s what he really thinks, how could he get up in the middle of the room and lead this group of men with several people?” in this locker room knowing that, in private, he is laughing at them or is against them? Said Rapoport.
“It couldn’t work. This partly explains why Jon Gruden resigned from owner Mark Davis and then his staff last night. “
Rapoport says thousands of emails from the investigation have yet to be made public and is unsure who else might be caught in a similar situation.
“The report has not been made public. Most of these emails have not been made public, ”he said.
“Are they going to be or are we going to uncover the secret content of emails from leaders who follow this model?” ”
Considering the work the league has done to be more inclusive in recent years, Rapoport says many in the community are just relieved that Gruden has decided to step down from his post.
“He’s a man, who was publicly one thing – he seemed like some kind of jovial, crazy leader – these emails obviously reveal Jon Gruden’s real thoughts,” he said.
“I think there are a lot of people wondering – players, executives of color, a lot I spoke to last night, coaches of color, or just humans – just wondering if this no one is going to get what they deserve.
“Will there be a responsibility? Are you just allowed to do it?
“I think when John Gurden resigned, several of the people I spoke with just said, ‘OK, well, that’s what it should be. “”
CNN’s Steve Almasy contributed reporting.