October 12, 2021 (New York, NY) – Athlete Ally responded to news this morning that Las Vegas Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden resigned in light of a demonstrated pattern of racist, homophobic and misogynistic comments. According to the NY Times, Gruden spoke out in opposition to women referees, used a homophobic slur in response to the Rams drafting of Michael Sam in 2014, and made deeply racist and denegrating comments aimed at DeMaurice Smith, head of the NFL Players Association, in 2011, to name only a few incidents. Gruden’s resignation comes less than five months after Raiders defensive linemen Carl Nassib came out, becoming as the first openly gay active NFL player in the league’s history.
“Gruden’s history of misogyny, homophobia and anti-Black language is a fierce reminder of how much work needs to be done within the NFL to truly promote a culture of inclusion for all athletes,” said Anne Lieberman, Director of Policy & Programs. “Words matter, and language is a reflection of the values of leadership. Coaches set the tone for team culture, and athletes deserve coaches who uplift and support them no matter their identity, not those who create environments of bigotry, fear and silence.”