It didn’t take as long as many expected, but the era of Jon Gruden as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders is over. Last week, the Wall Street Journal and New York Times discovered the coach’s emails containing racist, sexist and homophobic statements by the coach that forced him to resign on Monday. One of the NFL’s most popular characters is now becoming an outcast and is unlikely to get another coaching job.
Some former players came out and defended Gruden, but not Keyshawn Johnson. The former wide receiver of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers played under the coach for two seasons and was even part of the Super Bowl winning team in 2002. At that time Gruden was at the top of the world and was hailed as one of the best coaches in the world. Johnson never bought his way into the hype, however.
“He’s always been a cheat to me,” Johnson said on ESPN’s Keyshawn, JWill, and Max. “He was a used car seller from day one and people bought him.”
Johnson also revealed that Gruden played a huge role in why he pushed his way out of the team. While not everyone had the same experience with the coach, he clearly rubbed Johnson in the wrong direction.
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There will certainly be a lot of opinions about Gruden and his emails in the coming weeks, but the Raiders players remain calm for the moment. Unfortunately, they still have a job to do and it’s still early in the season. One of the most notable aspects of Gruden’s emails was the use of homophobic language.
With Carl Nassib, the Raiders currently have the only openly gay player in the NFL on their squad. Although he wasn’t outside when he played, Ryan Russell believes this problem goes well beyond Gruden.
“I don’t think it’s enough, I think it’s a response to an investigation into what is happening,” Russell told CNN on Tuesday, who came out bisexual in 2019.
“I think the next step the league needs to take is to proactively ensure that the coaches they hire, the players they call up, the organization they make up are inclusive, supportive and committed hold this standard when things come out, but all the time.
“It’s a responsibility to do the right thing when no one is looking. The integrity level is challenged here. “
Raiders owner Mark Davis placed a serious bet when he handed the keys to the franchise to Gruden. He gave the coach all the control and money he could ask for. He rewarded Davis with a 22-31 record in just over three seasons and a massive scandal. There’s no denying that this was a mistake on the part of the owner.
The Raiders’ players and coaching team have nothing to do with the way Gruden speaks, so they are to blame for it. However, they will be the ones who have to go ahead and play football. They could either cluster around each other and try to prevail or fall apart. Either way, no one is going to blame them for the outcome. Davis has a huge mess to clean up and it could derail a once promising 2021 season.
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