Jon Gruden – A Tarnished Legacy

Jon Gruden was the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders until he was forced to resign when emails from 2011 leaked showing him using racist and homophobic language.

Jon Gruden - A Tarnished Legacy

Anisa Meraz, Staff Writer

Jon Gruden, born August 17, 1963, was an American gridiron football coach and television broadcaster. He was born in Sandusky, Ohio. Football seemed to run in the family as his father Jim served as a professional football regional scout, quarterbacks coach, and director of player personnel for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. When he was 15 he moved to Indiana and attended Clay High school and graduated in 1981. He then moved back to Ohio where he joined Muskingum College. He transferred to the University of Dayton where he was a three-year letterman and backup quarterback for the Flyers and graduated in 1986 with a degree in communications. Right after graduation, Gruden began his coaching career as a graduate assistant coach at the University of Tennessee.

Jon’s first NFL coaching job came in 1998 when he was hired on by the Oakland Raiders. He built a reputation for himself and was hired on as the head coach in Tampa Bay in 2001. He then won the Superbowl with the Buccaneers in his first season in Tampa. His fortunes faltered after the win and by 2008 he was no longer coaching in the NFL. He worked for many years as a broadcaster, until he returned to coach to Raiders in the 2018 season.

When Gruden was hired on as coach of the Raiders he was given a 10-year, 100 million dollar contract. His second tenure at the Raiders was going well until 2021 when emails he had sent in 2011 came to light. Gruden had sent very inappropriate emails he sent to the former president of the Washington Football Team Bruce Allen. In the emails, he was using derogatory, misogynistic, and homophobic language toward Bruce and other players. In the tirades, Gruden referred to Michael Sam using inappropriate comments about sexuality. Gruden’s emails were many, and were of such a repulsive and reprehensible nature that he resigned in disgrace.

Many people were shocked when the news of Jon’s emails emerged. Many news websites ran with the story and Raiders fans and players were shocked. Gruden spoke to the Raiders Players on the Friday after he was to resign. Derek Carr, the current quarterback for the Raiders, said the team accepted his apology for the racist, and hurtful emails, “Us as a team, we’re like , ‘Yeah, Coach, it was 10 years ago. We love you, man. We got your back. We’re just trying to be there to support Coach. I know it’s a hard time for him. …He told us, ‘ Men, learn from my mistakes.’ When we left that meeting, we didn’t take it as how it came out.”

Jon Gruden is now open about the emails that led to his resignation last year. He stated, “I’m ashamed about what has come about in these emails, and I’ll make no excuse for it”.  Despite some contrition, Gruden has not taken another coaching job and his legacy in the NFL is tarnished.