Jon Gruden has been removed from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Ring of Honor following his resignation as the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday.
“The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have advocated for purposeful change in the areas of race relations, gender equality, diversity and inclusion for many years. While we acknowledge Jon Gruden’s contributions on the field, his actions go against our core values as an organization. Therefore, he will no longer continue to be a member of the Buccaneers Ring of Honor,” the Bucs said in a statement, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
He led the Buccaneers to the franchise’s first Super Bowl title in the 2002 season, beating the then-Oakland Raiders, but has now been removed from the team’s ring of honor. He posted a 57-55 regular season record in his seven years with team from 2002 to 2008.
Critics had been wanting the team to fire him ever since The Wall Street Journal reported he used racially insensitive language to describe NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith in a 2011 email. Once that did not happen, the New York Times reported it reviewed more emails and found Gruden used even more offensive language towards women and gay people.
Smith told USA Today that there is “potential for good” to come from this situation.
“It took a long time for the league to recognize that they had not listened to the players and addressed their concerns about why players were kneeling or why players were actively becoming engaged in social justice issues,” he said.
“Maybe there is the potential here for recognizing that there are people within our system that engage in or support ideas that we know are inconsistent with fairness and justice and equality, and maybe if we can embrace that quicker, then it gives us an opportunity to understand and fix what I believe are systemic problems in diverse hiring in the league.”
NFL’s reigning Most Valuable Player, Aaron Rodgers, weighed in on Gruden’s resignation as he boldly stated: “Those opinions don’t have a place in the game.”
“It was surprising to see that the thing went so quickly, but I think that was probably the best decision for all parties involved,” he said on The Pat McAfee Show on Tuesday.
“Hopefully, we can all as a league learn and grow from this. Hopefully, it puts people on notice who have some of those same opinions. Like: ‘Hey man, it’s time to grow and evolve and change and connect.’ That sh*t doesn’t fly.”