The Real Reason Jon Gruden Resigned As Raiders Coach

As the legendary Frank Sinatra once famously crooned, "You're riding high in April, shot down in May."

Jon Gruden stunned the masses on October 11 when he announced on Twitter that he would be stepping down from his position as head coach of the Raiders. "I have resigned as Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction," the NFL coach wrote in the bombshell tweet. "Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff, and fans of Raider Nation. I'm sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone."

Following Gruden's resignation, owner of the Raiders, Mark Davis, issued a separate statement on Twitter that read, "I have accepted Jon Gruden's resignation as Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders."

But why did Gruden — who recently enjoyed a winning streak to the tune of 3-0 — step down? While he alluded to it in his resignation statement, the answer has players and fans alike reeling.

Jon Gruden wrote a racist email in 2011

Shortly ahead of Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden's explosive resignation, The Wall Street Journal reported that Gruden had penned a 2011 email that included a racist remark about the NFL Player Association's Executive Director, DeMaurice Smith. "Dumboriss Smith has lips the size of michellin tires," Gruden penned in a derogatory email to the Washington football team's president at the time, Bruce Allen.

Though Gruden denied recollection of the email, he admitted to The Athletic, that he "probably looked at De as the villain," due to his involvement in the 2011 lockout. "I went too far calling him the Michelin lips," he added before maintaining that he "never had a blade of racism" and claimed that the comment was made in reference to his perception of Smith as a liar. He then revealed that he had tried calling Smith, but was not successful in his endeavor. "I haven't heard back from him yet, but I will continue to try," he vowed.

In response to the remarks Gruden made about him in the email, DeMaurice Smith released a statement on Twitter in which he concluded that Gruden's email proved that the battle against racism and intolerance wasn't over. "This is not about an email as much as it is about a pervasive belief by some that people who look like me can be treated as less," he wrote in a thread.