Buccaneers make harsh decision amid Jon Gruden’s leaked racist, offensive emails
Jon Gruden may have brought the Tampa Bay Buccaneers their first Super Bowl title, but the latest revelation about his past racist and offensive actions is simply unacceptable for the franchise.
With that said, the Buccaneers have made the decision to remove Gruden from their Ring of Honor–an accolade that celebrates the team’s greatest figures. In an announcement on Tuesday (via Adam Schefter of ESPN), Tampa Bay shared their mission to spark “purposeful change,” something that doesn’t go in line with Gruden’s past inappropriate remarks about players, referees, teams and NFL executives.
“The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have advocated for purposeful change in the areas of race relations, gender equality, diversity and inclusion for many years. While we acknowledge Jon Gruden’s contributions on the field, his actions go against our core values as an organization. Therefore, he will no longer continue to be a member of the Buccaneers Ring of Honor,” the team announced in a statement.
Jon Gruden served as head coach of the Buccaneers from 2002 to 2008, leading the team to their first Super Bowl appearance and title in the 2002 season.
Unfortunately, Gruden found himself in massive controversy recently after his past emails were leaked. Aside from the first email revealed that showed him describing NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith as someone with “lips the size of michellin tires,” several other misogynistic, homophobic and racist messages from the veteran NFL coach surfaced.
Here’s an excerpt from The New York Times article that detailed Gruden’s emails:
Gruden’s messages were sent to Bruce Allen, the former president of the Washington Football Team, and others, while he was working for ESPN as a color analyst during “Monday Night Football,” the sports network’s weekly prime-time telecast of N.F.L. games. In the emails, Gruden called the league’s commissioner, Roger Goodell, a “faggot” and a “clueless anti football pussy” and said that Goodell should not have pressured Jeff Fisher, then the coach of the Rams, to draft “queers,” a reference to Michael Sam, a gay player chosen by the team in 2014.
The Buccaneers’ decision to remove Gruden from their Ring of Honor comes less than 24 hours after the 58-year-old resigned as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. It has certainly been a chaotic week for Gruden, and things are not expected to get any better as the league looks into the matter.