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Bucs removing Jon Gruden from Ring of Honor

“His actions go against our core values as an organization,” the team announces
Former Bucs coach Jon Gruden places a team hat on his head during his induction into the Ring of Honor on Dec. 18, 2017.
Former Bucs coach Jon Gruden places a team hat on his head during his induction into the Ring of Honor on Dec. 18, 2017. [ Times (2017) ]
Published Oct. 12, 2021|Updated Oct. 13, 2021

TAMPA — The Bucs announced Tuesday they are removing former coach Jon Gruden’s name from the franchise’s Ring of Honor following a report revealing his use of racist, misogynistic and homophobic language in emails over a period of several years.

The Bucs’ announcement comes a day after Gruden, 58, resigned as coach of the Raiders.

“The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have advocated for purposeful change in the areas of race relations, gender equality, diversity and inclusion for many years,” the team said in a statement released late Tuesday afternoon.

“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.”

Gruden, who coached the Bucs for seven seasons and led the franchise to its first Super Bowl title his first season (in January 2003), was inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor in December 2017.

He amassed a 57-55 record in Tampa Bay and remains the franchise’s winningest coach in terms of victories. In seven seasons, he led the Bucs to three NFC South titles and three playoff berths.

He re-joined the Raiders for his second stint as the franchise’s head coach in January 2018, following nearly a decade in broadcasting. During his time away from the sidelines, he also formed the Fired Football Coaches Association — a football think tank of sorts with a tiny office in north Tampa — and had a brief stint as an assistant coach at Carrollwood Day School.

The New York Times and Wall Street Journal reported Gruden’s use of offensive language in emails over a period of several years, some as recently as 2018. The Wall Street Journal reported late last week he used a racist term to describe NFL union chief DeMaurice Smith.

The Times reported that Gruden used a homophobic slur to insult NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and referred to him as “clueless” and “anti-football.” He also said Goodell shouldn’t have pressured the Rams to draft “queers,” a reference to Michael Sam, who was the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team.

Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib came out as gay in June and is the first openly gay player to appear in an NFL game.

Gruden, who still has a home in north Tampa, released a statement Monday night, saying: “I have resigned as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction. Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff, and fans of Raider Nation.

“I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone.”

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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