Former Raiders punter Marquette King hasn’t kicked in the NFL since 2018, and he has a theory on why his career was cut short despite putting up impressive numbers during his six seasons.
King, who said recently that he believes discrimination ended his tenure as one of the NFL’s few Black punters, says that when Jon Gruden was hired as Raiders head coach, his fate was already sealed.
King stated on 95.7 The Game that he thought he was good with the Raiders until then-Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie informed him that Gruden was letting him go.
“As soon as I showed up, Reggie was telling me that Gruden doesn’t want me there,” King said. “We’re about to let you go, we’re gonna put you on the wire, and it’s gonna hit the news soon.”
He wanted an opportunity to speak with Gruden, but never received that chance.
“I never met the guy before. I never talked to him. . . . I never got a chance to meet any of them. I never got a chance to talk to any of them. It was just the weirdest thing ever. It actually kind of hurt. It felt like a loss,” King said.
King said he was devastated by the Raiders getting rid of him, and he felt that it was more personal than about football.
“Raiders felt like home. That was home. Staying in the bay was home. Wearing those colors, I couldn’t see myself wearing any other colors,” he said. “I honestly should’ve took a year off. I was just so scarred from that, man. Feeling like somebody just has a motive behind just letting you go. I honestly don’t understand. I think it was hate. That’s what I feel like. That’s the only way you can be like that towards somebody if you never met them. I don’t know, some people just got hate in their heart.”
King was the 2014 NFL punting yards leader and earned second-team All-Pro honors in ’16 with the Raiders. Still, other than playing in the now obsolete XFL for five games with the St. Louis Battlehawks in ’20, King has yet to land another chance in professional football.
King said in a series of tweets that he was “done fighting” for a fair chance and that black punters and kickers still do not receive equal opportunities in the league.