Raiders 'stand for diversity' says GM after Gruden email scandal

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Las Vegas Raiders general manager Mike Mayock said the club "stood for diversity" on Wednesday after the scandal that saw head coach Jon Gruden resign for racist, homophobic and misogynistic emails.

In his first press conference since Gruden's dramatic resignation on Monday, Mayock pointed to the Raiders record on promoting minorities to key positions in the franchise over the years.

"The way I grew up the Raiders always stood for diversity," Mayock said.

"They had the first Latino quarterback Tom Flores who also became the second Latino head coach, the first African American head coach was Art Shell, the first female chief executive was Amy Trask."

Those appointments were made by former Raiders owner Al Davis, whose son Mark Davis is now at the helm of the franchise.

Mayock said Davis had endured a "tough week" as he grappled with the Gruden controversy, which relates to emails he sent over while working as an ESPN commentator, several years before he was appointed Raiders head coach in 2018.

"(Mark Davis) had a tough week," Mayock said.

"He had to gather facts, he had to do his due diligence. Since the day I took this job almost three years ago, what Mr Davis has preached has been three things -- diversity, social justice, and domestic violence."

Mayock said Gruden's departure had left him "sad".

"I do have emotion. And I am sad, I'm sad for the whole Gruden family, not just Jon," Mayock said. "But at the end of the day, we're all accountable for our actions. And that's how we have to look at it."

- 'No leadership vacuum' -

Gruden exited the Raiders on Monday roughly 72 hours after the Wall Street Journal revealed the coach had used a racist trope to describe NFL players union chief DeMaurice Smith in an email.

The National Football League condemned the email as "appalling, abhorrent and wholly contrary to the NFL's values."

In comments to ESPN at the weekend, Gruden said he was "ashamed" of his language, and insisted he "didn't have a blade of racism" in his character.

But on Monday, The New York Times reported it had reviewed other emails by Gruden in which he used anti-gay and misogynistic slurs as he disparaged issues such as the emergence of women referees to the drafting of a gay player.

The Raiders current roster includes the only openly gay player in the NFL, Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib, who came out in June.

Mayock revealed Nassib had requested a personal day on Wednesday which the team had granted.

"He requested a personal day today," Mayock said of Nassib. "He just said he's got a lot to process, there's a lot that's been going on the last few days, and of course we support that request."

Mayock meanwhile rejected suggestions that the Raiders may suffer a leadership vacuum as they attempt to get their season back on track under interim head coach Rich Bisaccia.

"Rich is the most natural leader of men that I've ever met," Mayock said of Bisaccia. "I don't think there's a vacuum of leadership. I want to be very clear on that. Rich Bisaccia is the best leader I've been around. We're going to let this season play out."