In his dealings with those in his immediate orbit, the former Raiders head coach long ago showed us where he thinks a Black man’s place in football should be
Now that Jon Gruden has been forced out in Las Vegas – and this, after an eight years-long email trail of his racist, homophobic and misogynistic exchanges were unearthed as part of an investigation into the Washington Football Team’s fratty workplace culture – it’s worth revisiting how the coach came to power in the Raiders organization for the second time in his gilded career.
Six years before Gruden was lured out of ESPN’s Monday Night Football booth with a 10-year, $100m carrot, the Raiders were circling the drain; in 2014, they’d win a paltry three games on the way to tying for the NFL’s third-worst record. But over the next few seasons the team slowly rebuilt itself into a contender, winning 12 games to reach the 2016 playoffs. And there was no doubt that resurgence was a credit to the shrewd work of general manager Reggie McKenzie, the former Raiders linebacker and the first person to run football operations other than owner Al Davis.