Jon Gruden has resigned as coach of the Las Vegas Raiders after emails he sent before being hired in 2018 contained racist, homophobic and misogynistic comments.
Gruden released a statement Monday night, saying: “I have resigned as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction. Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff, and fans of Raider Nation. I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone.”
He stepped down after The New York Times reported that Gruden frequently used misogynistic and homophobic language directed at Commissioner Roger Goodell and others in the NFL.
Special teams and assistant head coach Rich Bisaccia will take over on an interim basis.
It was a rapid downfall for Gruden, who is in the fourth year of a 10-year, US$100 million contract he signed with the Raiders in 2018. It started on Friday when the Wall Street Journal reported that Gruden used a racist term to describe NFL union chief DeMaurice Smith in a 2011 email to former Washington executive Bruce Allen.
The emails were discovered in a workplace misconduct investigation into the Washington Football Team but ended up costing Gruden his job when they also showed Gruden denounced the drafting of a gay player and the tolerance of players protesting during the playing of the national anthem among other issues.
Gruden apologized for his “insensitive remarks” about Smith, saying they were made out of frustration over the 2011 lockout. But the latest emails sent from between 2011-18 when Gruden was an analyst for ESPN show his use of derogatory language went well beyond that.
A league source confirms the accuracy of the emails and said they were sent to the Raiders last week. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the league hasn’t made the emails public.
Raiders owner Mark Davis said last week that the email about Smith was “disturbing and not what the Raiders stand for” and said the team was reviewing the additional emails. Davis issued a statement Monday saying only that he accepted Gruden’s resignation.
The Times reported that Gruden used a gay slur to insult Goodell and said he was “clueless” and “anti-football.” He also said Goodell shouldn’t have pressured the Rams to draft “queers,” a reference to Michael Sam, who was the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team.
Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib came out as gay in June and is the first openly gay player to appear in an NFL game.
In a 2017 email, the Times said Gruden responded to a sexist meme of a female official by saying: “Nice job roger.”
The paper also said Gruden criticized Goodell and the NFL 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.
The newspaper said Gruden also mocked an article in 2017 about players calling on Goodell to support their efforts promoting racial equality and criminal justice reform.
“He needs to hide in his concussion protocol tent,” Gruden wrote.
Gruden and Allen have a long relationship, having worked together in Oakland and Tampa Bay. The emails between the two and other men included photos of women wearing only bikini bottoms, including one photo of two Washington team cheerleaders.
Gruden also criticized President Barack Obama during his re-election campaign in 2012, and then-vice president Joe Biden.
Smith said earlier Monday that he appreciates that Gruden reached out to him following the initial report, but that the email is evidence that the fight against racism is ongoing.
“But make no mistake, the news is not about what is said in our private conversation, but what else is said by people who never thought they would be exposed and how they are going to be held to account,” Smith wrote in a Twitter thread.
Gruden’s comments to Allen about Smith came during the 2011 lockout of the players by the NFL. Gruden told the Wall Street Journal he was angry about the lockout during labor negotiations and he didn’t trust the direction the union was taking.
Davis had been trying to hire Gruden almost since he took charge following the death of his father, Al, in 2011. He finally got his prize in 2018 when Gruden agreed to leave ESPN and return to the sideline with a 10-year contract. Gruden had revived the Raiders in is first stint in 1998-2001 and then beat them in the Super Bowl the following season after he was traded to Tampa Bay for a boatload of draft picks.
Gruden has a 117-112 career record but hasn’t won a playoff game since the Super Bowl victory over the Raiders in the 2002 season.
His second tenure with the team started with a pep rally introductory news conference but provided few reasons for celebration as Gruden had a 22-31 record, failing to reach a winning record or make the playoffs.
He traded away stars Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper in his first season to start a rebuild, which has showed only minor progress. After the Raiders went 4-12 in his first season, Gruden tried to make a push in 2019 in the team’s final season in Oakland by spending heavily in free agency and trading for star receiver Antonio Brown. But Brown was cut before the season after a series of run-ins with management, and the Raiders went 7-9.
They improved to 8-8 last season and got off to a promising 3-0 start this year before losing the past two games.
Bisaccia has been a special teams coordinator in the NFL for 19 seasons with the Raiders, Chargers, Dallas and Tampa Bay. He has no head coaching experience but his elevation will allow other assistants such as defensive coordinator Gus Bradley to stay in their current roles.
AP Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner contributed to this report
Alouettes trade for QB Trevor Harris – CFL.ca
MONTREAL — The Montreal Alouettes announced on Sunday that the team has acquired veteran quarterback Trevor Harris from the Edmonton Elks in exchange for American defensive end Antonio Simmons.
In six games this season, Harris completed 135 of 192 passes, collecting 1,568 yards, adding six majors.
Harris (six-foot-three, 212 pounds) is in his ninth season in the CFL after playing in Toronto, Ottawa and Edmonton. In 139 career games, he completed 1990 passes for 23,750 yards, adding 126 touchdown passes. The 35-year-old quarterback has hoisted the Grey Cup twice (2012, Toronto; 2016, Ottawa). The Waldo, OH native was selected on the East Division All-Star Team in 2016. The former Edinboro University Fighting Scots suited up for the Jacksonvile Jaguars in 2010 and the Buffalo Bills in 2011.
“Trevor is a veteran who knows the league well and what it takes to win”, said Montreal Alouettes General Manager Danny Maciocia. “We are pleased to have been able to complete this transaction. We are confident that Trevor will work well with our quarterbacks. We thank Antonio for his services and wish him well.”
In 23 career games with the Alouettes, Simmons made 52 defensive tackles, five quarterback sacks and forced a fumble.
Simmons is currently in his second CFL season and joins the Elks after originally signing with Montreal in May of 2019.
The Georgia Tech product played all 18 regular season games for the Als in 2019, recording 45 defensive tackles, three sacks, and a forced fumble. In five games this season, Simmons has registered seven defensive tackles and two sacks.
A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Simmons played four years (2014-17) at Georgia Tech, collecting 83 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, and seven quarterback sacks. He spent time in 2018 with both the Denver Broncos and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Flames D Andersson fined $5K for roughing Oilers F Yamamoto – TSN
Calgary Flames defenseman Rasmus Andersson has been fined $5,000 for roughing Edmonton Oilers forward Kailer Yamamoto.
Andersson was fined the maximum allowable under the collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and the Players’ Association.
The money goes to the players’ emergency assistance fund.
Andersson was assessed minor penalties for both roughing and elbowing at 14:33 of the first period Saturday in Edmonton.
The Flames lost their season-opener 5-2 to the Oilers.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 17, 2021.
Report: Maple Leafs to ease up on dress code restrictions for game days – Sportsnet.ca
The Toronto Maple Leafs are apparently planning to loosen up on dress code restrictions for players on game day.
Players are required to wear jackets, ties and dress pants to and from the arena, as outlined in the CBA, however, teams can ease up on the mandate if they choose.
The Arizona Coyotes were the only team that opted to do so entering the season, but the Maple Leafs now plan to follow suit, according to Lance Hornby of The Toronto Sun.
The decision comes just a few days after ESPN published an article on Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews, who has shown a flair for unique fashion while away from the arena, discussing his displeasure with the NHL’s strict dress code.
“I don’t mind wearing a suit, but it gets old pretty quick,” Matthews said. “I think it’d be fun to wear different things and be able to express yourself, similar to what the NBA does or even the NFL a little bit.”
The 24-year-old Matthews, who led the NHL with 41 goals in 52 games last season, missed the first three games of the season while recovering from wrist surgery and is expected to make his 2021-22 debut Monday night against the New York Rangers on Sportsnet.
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