Andre Rison, who played for the Oakland Raiders in 2002, says Jon Gruden, the former head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders is not racist.
Amid racist, sexist and homophic emails that leaked, allegedly from Gruden, Rison told TMZ, “We all say some things behind closed doors that we regret or we wouldn’t say in public. We’ve all made mistakes.”
He continued, “I believe who he said and what he said and who he intended it for, it was intended for that person and nobody else.”
Rison also had a message directly for Gruden, “You’ve already given this game some of the best tutelage and best leadership that you could possibly give. So if you don’t ever touch the game again, don’t feel any type of way. Go on with your life and enjoy it with the rest of the Gruden family.”
Jon Gruden officially resigned his post as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders after a series of emails leaked in which he repeatedly used homophobic and mysoginistic language.
According to CBS Sports, Gruden was already under investigation by the NFL for a 2011 email in which he used a racial trope to criticize NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith. Gruden also used profane language to describe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
“I have resigned as Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders,” Gruden, 58, said in an October 11 statement. “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.”
Raiders owner Mark Davis accepted Gruden’s resignation.
The New York Times reported that Gruden’s controversial conduct extends far beyond those comments. According to the newspaper, he “casually and frequently unleashed misogynistic and homophobic language” to denigrate NFL peers from 2010 to 2018, when he rejoined the Raiders.
CBS Sports reported the NFL was “waiting on the Raiders to take action” and was prepared to “step in” if Las Vegas did not address the situation beyond a public denouncement.