Keyshawn Johnson has expressed his thoughts on the recent resignation of former NFL coach Jon Gruden.
Johnson, who played under Gruden’s leadership from 2000 to 2003 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, called his former coach a “fraud” and compared the former coach to a “used car salesman.” He, of course, was discussing the now-disgraced coach, who has resigned from his position with the Raiders in the wake of controversies over as emails sent over a decade ago have surfaced, revealing racist and homophobic comments.
“I didn’t know that Jon would say things like that and put them in an email,” Johnson began per USAToday. “He’s just always been a fraud to me.”
“From day one, he’s been a used car salesman,” said Johnson, the former NFL wide receiver. “And people bought it because he inherited a championship team built by (former coach) Tony Dungy and Rich McKay, and he came in there with a little bit of different energy than we had with Tony, and it kind of kicked us over the top to get our world championship, which I am grateful for. But at the same time, I also saw through who he was through that journey of getting a championship.”
“I have resigned as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders,” Gruden said in a statement, obtained by NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. “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.” Special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia has been named the Raiders’ interim head coach.
Gruden’s resignation followed a Wall Street Journal article that revealed a racist 2011 email sent by the former coach about DeMaurice Smith, a NFL Players Association executive director who is Black. The New York Times reported that the former coach also used homophobic and misogynistic language in emails dating back to 2010.
Smith released a statement following Gruden’s apology.
“The email from Jon Gruden — and some of the reaction to it — confirms that the fight against racism, racist tropes and intolerance is not over. This is not about an email as much as it is about a pervasive belief by some that people who look like me can be treated as less,” Smith’s statement read. “The email has also revealed why the comments by some with powerful platforms to explain this away are insidious and hypocritical. It is as if there is a need to protect football above the values of equality, inclusion and respect.
Smith concluded his statement on Gruden’s apology and how it should be a lesson for others to hold themselves accountable.
“I appreciate that he reached out to me & I told him that we will connect soon, but make no mistake, the news is not about what is said in our private conversation, but what else is said by people who never thought they would be exposed and how they are going to be held to account.”
I appreciate that he reached out to me & I told him that we will connect soon, but make no mistake, the news is not about what is said in our private conversation, but what else is said by people who never thought they would be exposed and how they are going to be held to account— DeMaurice Smith (@demauricesmith) October 11, 2021
“I’m ashamed I insulted De Smith. I never had a racial thought when I used it,” Gruden told ESPN. “I’m embarrassed by what’s out there. I certainly never meant for it to sound that bad.”
Gruden sent emails to Bruce Allen, the then president of the Washington Football Team, about a gay player, former defensive end Michael Sam according to the Times. The Times reported that Gruden used homophobic slurs in several instances and offensive language to describe owners, coaches, and media members who cover the league.
Here’s how members of the NFL are responding to Gruden’s resignation:
Gruden had to go simple as that— Mike Wallace (@Wallace17_daKid) October 12, 2021
You can’t be racist, homophobic and misogynistic.— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) October 12, 2021
You shouldn’t be any of them.
Coach Gruden didn’t have a bad moment, but a 7 yr history of bad moments. Owner Marc Davis did the right thing and he’s out from under that 100 mil dollar contract.What former/current players,coaches and colleagues will stand up for offended groups like the did for Coach Gruden?— shannon sharpe (@ShannonSharpe) October 12, 2021
Happiest person in the world is Dan Snyder because the focus of this NFL investigation was on him and his team culture, not Gruden. As big as the Gruden news is, let’s not lose sight of the fact that Snyder is still in an ownership position and the NFL is protecting him.— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) October 12, 2021