When the news first broke about emails by Jon Gruden that includes racist language, the coach apologized but appeared to be able to keep his job. A few days later when it became clear that there were tons of emails with racist, homophobic, and misogynistic language, there was no room for Gruden in the NFL and he resigned as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders.
At the time, owner Mark Davis voiced frustration with the NFL, telling reporters that “they have all the answers” regarding the email situation related to their investigation into Washington Football Team. It was also noted that Davis knew about the rest of the emails before the day Gruden resigned and, presumably, was fine with allowing him to continue as coach of the Raiders.
On Friday, Jason La Canfora at CBS Sports reported that Davis sees the whole episode as a way for the NFL to come after the Raiders and is taking it personally.
“He thinks the league office is out to get him,” said one source who has spoken to Davis. “He thinks it’s a hit job.”
Given the history between the Davis family and the NFL, it’s not hard to see how this fits in. And it sounds like Davis might be interested in getting bolder and louder when it comes to his voice around the league. Especially since Davis might be on the hook financially when it comes to a settlement with Gruden over the remainder of his contract. According to reports, Davis was not interested in firing Gruden for cause, but since he had to (or force Gruden to resign), that may now be the case.
All of this feels a bit different from the comment that Davis made on Sunday following the Raiders’ 34-24 win over the Denver Broncos.
“Listen, the Raiders stand for diversity, inclusion, and social justice,” Davis said, per Ed Graney of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “We always have and we always will. The emails that came out are not what we stand for and so Jon Gruden is no longer head coach. There’s not much more I can say. All the talking heads are making up all sorts of stuff. That’s all it is. We don’t stand for it.”
Not to say that Davis is lying, but there does seem to be a disconnect between the multiple reports regarding what’s happening behind the scenes and what Davis is saying in the open. That’s understandable given the nature of the topic, but it’s hard not to believe that Davis’ primary concerns might be less about social justice and more about his money.