A bad week for Jon Gruden got significantly worse after the Las Vegas Raiders lost to the Chicago Bears 20-9 on Sunday, October 10. The now-former coach found himself in the middle of a major controversy after an email from 2011 leaked in which he said the executive director of the NFL Players Association, DeMaurice Smith, “has lips the size of michellin tires,” The Wall Street Journal first reported on October 8. The Raiders did play hard against the Bears but were incredibly sloppy.
Running back Josh Jacobs insisted that the poor performance had nothing to do with the email controversy.
“I don’t think it had anything to do with (Gruden’s email),” Jacobs said after the loss. “I think it’s just kind of how the guys came out — the last couple of weeks, we’ve been coming out flat starting out early in the game. It was kind of a point of emphasis to try and get it going early, and we didn’t do that today.”
On October 11, more controversial comments from Gruden’s emails were published by The New York Times. Gruden announced the same day that he would resign.
The email comments from 2011 came out as part of an investigation into the Washington Football Team’s workplace culture that was concluded in July 2021. NFL executives discovered Gruden’s emails during the course of the investigation and turned them over to the Raiders, the outlet reported.
Prior to the announcement of Gruden’s resignation, however, Jacobs made it clear that he trusted his head coach.
“I have been around this guy for three years now, and I have never felt a certain type of way about him,” Jacobs said. “He’s never rubbed me a certain type of way. What he said is what he said, at the end of the day. But I definitely trust him.
“It was 10 years ago. People grow.”
These words from Jacobs will certainly help Gruden. He’s one of the most respected young players on the team and his words carry weight.
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Derek Carr Was ‘Shocked’ by the Email
There hasn’t been anything else to come out in Gruden’s career that would suggest he holds any racist views. The email is concerning for many and he’s apologized for his words. Quarterback Derek Carr said he didn’t see any of this coming.
“As a team, we were like, ‘Yeah, Coach, it was 10 years ago. We love you, man. We got your back,’” Carr said Sunday. “We’re just trying to be there for Coach. … I was very shocked (by the email). He’s never shown any of those characteristics at all.”
Carr is the leader of the team so his trust could have gone a long way in helping Gruden regain credibility.
Denzel Perryman Has Moved on Already
Gruden was fortunate that he was able to get ahead of this whole situation by talking to his team before the news of the email broke. Linebacker Denzel Perryman has only been with the team for a short time so he likely doesn’t have much of a relationship with Gruden yet. However, he didn’t appear to be offended by the words the coach used in 2011.
“[Gruden] talked to us about it, and that was it,” Perryman said Sunday. “I literally let it go as soon as we walked out of the meeting room. I wasn’t focused on that … still not focused on that. I don’t know how many years ago it was, I could care less.”
No players on the Raiders have directly come out against Gruden.