Jon Gruden resigns: Cowboys’ Jerry Jones reacts to email scandal involving former Raiders coach

When it comes to the conversation of racism, Jerry Jones isn’t a stranger, having been on the receiving end of controversy in recent history after drawing a line in the sand a few seasons ago — making it clear the Dallas Cowboys would “toe the line” and stand for the national anthem at the peak of silent protests fueled by NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Jones has since professed he’s learned “grace” on the topic, but no amount of grace would/will save Jon Gruden in 2021.

Gruden resigned on Monday as Las Vegas Raiders head coach amidst explosive email leaks that show years of his use of racist, homophobic and misogynistic language, with the team naming special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia as interim head coach for the remainder of the season and opening the door for a wave of top-shelf coaching candidates in 2022. When asked about the situation on Monday, a usually vocal Jones exercised restraint with his words, but not to the point of passing on the question altogether. 

“I know these people,” Jones told 105.3FM the Fan on Tuesday. “I know everybody that you’ve been reading about. They’re outstanding proponents of our game. They have represented this game in many cases beautifully. 

“Certainly we all continue to recognize what a spotlight you’re in, and the way that we should express ourself. All of that comes to my mind.”

Praising of Gruden’s career achievements aside, does Jones believe Gruden and the Raiders divorcing was the right decision?

“I have no — I don’t have anything I would want to express there one way or the other,” said Jones. “I know that from the standpoint of contribution, I know that we are all accountable to even a, if you will, a fleeting or minor part of our actions. We are all accountable to those. But that’s about all I want to comment on it. We are talking about people here, even the ones that some of the comments were directed about. 

“Those have been outstanding people in the NFL.”

Outstanding for the league or not, Gruden is rightfully suffering the consequences of his actions, as Jones eventually gets to admitting after pointing out the now-ousted coach’s contributions to the sport. 

In all, it’s a different time in the world and in the league than what it was decades ago, and Gruden’s comments are made worse by the fact they’re not only recent in the grand scheme of it all, but based upon the leaked emails, they were also consistent over a span of years after the initial racial jab made at NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith during the 2010 lockout between the player’s association and the NFL — serving as another reminder of an underlying culture in the sport that must be rooted out (and that the league has been feverishly trying to root out for years now). 

The fiasco involving Gruden is yet another black eye for the league in that regard, as culture evolves and demands the NFL evolve with it.

“Daylight and dark. Daylight and dark,” Jones continued. “And just the technology alone, but certainly the expectation has dramatically changed. They were changing from where they were 30 years earlier — 30 years ago. And, so, we just have to just keep your eyes open.”

But, again, he’s not willing to condemn Gruden as a person, only the actions that led to the consequence.

“The incidents that get portrayed aren’t necessarily a reflection of the individual or reflection of his life, but they certainly are impactful,” said Jones. “You are accountable for them. It’s about all I can say.”

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