Jon Gruden is Leaving Las Vegas

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:

A wild weekend in Las Vegas has ended with the Raiders and Jon Gruden parting ways, just over three years into his 10-year, $100 million contract. 


It began on Friday with the revelation that in a 2011 email Gruden used a racial trope when referring to NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith. The criticisms followed, Gruden apologized, many of his former players and assistant coaches came to his defense, and we entered a holding pattern.

Gruden was still in charge of the Raiders when they played at home against the Bears on Sunday, which turned into an embarrassing 20-9 loss. (In 2018, Gruden’s first big move was to trade away Kahlil Mack. In his final game in Las Vegas, he lost to Mack.)

Then Monday hit, and a series of other emails from 2010 to 2018 was released. And in these emails, Gruden went from insulting African-Americans to make a number of casual misogynistic and homophobic comments. He openly denounced the NFL for hiring women referees. He criticized the league’s efforts to draft “queer” players, as he put it. And he often referred to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell by using a gay slur.

The homophobic comments were particularly offensive considering that the first openly gay active NFL player is Carl Nassib, who played for Gruden up until Monday.

The writing on the wall was clear. The Raiders were one of the organizations that pushed for integration in the early days of the AFL-NFL merger. Al Davis was a strong supporter of civil rights and equal rights. So when Mark Davis asked for Gruden to resign Monday night, it wasn’t a surprise.

“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.”

How the Emails Surfaced

Gruden wasn’t employed by the NFL during the time these emails were sent. He was an analyst for Monday Night Football from 2009 to 2018. But during his tenure at ESPN, he frequently communicated with NFL coaches and front office staff, and these emails were sent to Washington team president Bruce Allen. 

Allen’s email cache, along with many others affiliated with the Washington Football Team - including Gruden’s brother Jay, head coach in Washington from 2014 to 2018 - were part of the investigation into the Washington Football Team’s work environment.

Among the emails received by the NFL during its investigation was the exchange of photos of Washington cheerleaders, forced to pose topless during a team photo shoot in Costa Rica.

Washington settled a lawsuit with a group of former cheerleaders earlier this year and was fined $10 million by the NFL for creating a toxic work environment for women employees

Gruden’s $100 Million Contract

In January of 2018, Gruden signed the most lucrative contract in NFL coaching history, at 10 years and $100 million dollars. It also included a no-trade clause, which is unusual for a coaching contract, until you remember that Gruden had been previously traded by the Raiders to the Buccaneers for two first-round picks and two second-round picks.

Three years and five games into the contract, Gruden is gone, finishing his second stint with the Raiders at 22-31 and no postseason appearances. That brings his 10-plus year total as Raiders head coach to 82-90 with just two playoff appearances in 2000 and 2001.

The remaining money on Gruden’s contract, which is more than $60 million, is now void.

Raiders Interim Head Coach Rich Bisaccia

To get the Raiders through the remainder of the 2021 season the team has named assistant head coach and special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia as the interim head coach. The 61-year-old Bisaccia has been an NFL special teams coach for 20 years, beginning with his hiring by Gruden in Tampa Bay in 2002.

Prior to his time as an assistant coach in the NFL, he was an assistant coach in college for 19 years. 

The decision to name Bisaccia interim head coach is a bit surprising, considering that in 39 years of coaching, he has never been a head coach. Also, defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, defensive line coach Rod Marinelli, and offensive line coach Tom Cable have all served as NFL coaches in the past.

Now it’s time to anticipate the Raiders’ NFL odds falling off a cliff. Curiously, they remain at +1200 odds to win the AFC West, while their opening odds of +4000 to win the AFC dropped to +3300 as a result of their 3-0 opening. 

Gambling News