Jon Gruden Removed from Buccaneers' Ring of Honor After Anti-Gay, Racist Emails

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIOctober 12, 2021

Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden speaks during a news conference after an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have removed former head coach Jon Gruden from the team's Ring of Honor following the discovery of racist, anti-gay and misogynistic language in his emails from 2011 to 2018.

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Buccaneers weigh in on their former Super-Bowl winning head coach: <a href="https://t.co/G9IuYm7iFS">pic.twitter.com/G9IuYm7iFS</a>

Gruden coached the Bucs from 2002 to 2008 and led the franchise to its first-ever Super Bowl win (and appearance) in February 2003 after his team beat the Oakland Raiders 48-21.

The 58-year-old was in the midst of his second stint as the Raiders head coach before he resigned Monday after the emails he wrote came to light.

The emails were part of the NFL's investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and verbal abuse against the Washington Football Team. Some of Gruden's emails were sent to former WFT team president Bruce Allen.

The Wall Street Journal's Andrew Beaton reported Oct. 8 that Gruden had used a racist trope to describe NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith, who is Black.

Gruden apologized for the remarks, but more emails came to light following a report from the New York TimesKen Belson and Katherine Rosman on Monday. That led to Gruden's resignation later that evening.

The emails revealed Monday showed that Gruden "denounced the emergence of women as referees, the drafting of a gay player and the tolerance of players protesting during the playing of the national anthem," per Belson and Rosman.

The player is Michael Sam, whom the then-St. Louis Rams selected in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL draft.

He suggested that commissioner Roger Goodell pressured the Rams to pick Sam and referred to the former Missouri star with an anti-gay slur. Gruden also used anti-gay language to describe Goodell.

Gruden notably coached Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib, who publicly come out as gay this year.

Gruden, Allen and others also exchanged photos of topless women, including former WFT cheerleaders.

The Raiders brought Gruden back to the Silver and Black with a 10-year, $100 million contract in 2018. He went 22-31 in three-plus years in his second tenure as the Raiders' coach.

Gruden also led the Raiders from 1998 to 2001 and worked as an ESPN analyst from 2009 to 2018.


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