(CNN) – Jon Gruden resigned Monday as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders after reports emerged that he used homophobic, racist and misogynistic language in emails while working as an ESPN analyst.
“I love the Raiders and I don’t want to be a distraction. Thank you to all the Raider Nation players, coaches, staff and fans. Sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone,” he said in a statement. issued by the Raiders.
Raiders owner Mark Davis tweeted that he had accepted Gruden’s resignation.
Critics had called for Gruden, who has coached the Raiders since the start of the 2018 season, to be fired since The Wall Street Journal reported that he used racially insensitive language to describe the executive director of the NFL Players Association, DeMaurice Smith, in an email from 2011.
On Monday, The New York Times reported that it reviewed more emails and found that Gruden was critical of women employed as field officers, a team that recruited an openly gay player, and tolerance of national anthem protesters.
A league source confirmed to CNN the veracity of The New York Times story.
The emails were discovered by the league and submitted to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell last week, the source said. The league said Friday it sent the emails to the Raiders and has been waiting for the team to review them with Gruden.
On Friday, league spokesman Brian McCarthy said: “Jon Gruden’s email denigrating DeMaurice Smith is appalling, abhorrent, and totally contrary to NFL values. We condemn the statement and regret any damage its publication may inflict on the Mr. Smith or anyone else. “
CNN has again reached out to Gruden, the NFL and the Raiders for comment.
Gruden is one of the highest-paid coaches in the NFL, having signed a 10-year, $ 100 million contract with the Raiders, according to salary tracking website Spotrac. He first coached the Raiders from 1998 to 2001, then won a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002. At the time, Gruden was 39 years old and the youngest coach to win the Super Bowl.
He left the Bucs in 2008 and became a soccer analyst for ESPN.
Gruden’s messages were sent while working for ESPN as a colorful analyst on “Monday Night Football,” The New York Times reported.
In one, he called NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a “p ***” and a “ma *****,” according to the Times. In another, he said Michael Sam was “queer” after the player was selected by the St. Louis Rams and Gruden said the league should not have pressured the team’s then coach to recruit Sam, the newspaper reported.
The New York Times said the emails covered a seven-year period and many were sent to Bruce Allen, the former president of the Washington soccer team. Allen was fired by the organization in December 2019.
On Friday, an NFL spokesperson said the email reported in The Wall Street Journal was discovered as part of an NFL review of workplace misconduct at the Washington Football Team that took place this summer.
In response to The Wall Street Journal report, Gruden said: “All I can say is that I am not a racist.”
He added: “I can’t tell you how disgusted I am. I apologize again to De Smith, but I feel good about who I am and what I’ve done all my life. I apologize for the insensitive comments. I had no racial intentions with those. comments at all. “
Rich Bisaccia, the Raiders special teams coordinator and assistant head coach, will serve as the interim head coach, effective immediately, the team said.
CNN’s Jill Martin contributed to this report.