LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are removing Jon Gruden’s name from the Buccaneers Ring of Honor, according to a Tuesday statement from the team.
Gruden led the Buccaneers to their first Super Bowl title in 2002, defeating the Oakland Raiders, 47-21.
“The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have advocated for purposeful change in the areas of race relations, gender equality, diversity and inclusion for many years. 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 won more games than any other head coach in Bucs franchise history, with a career record of 57-55.
More reaction came to Gruden’s comments, including an interview with his brother, Jay Gruden, former coach for the Washington Football Team.
“That’s not anything we can ever anticipate happening, unfortunately. What’s happened has already happened, Jon’s already apologized, he’s never meant to hurt anyone, obviously,” Jay Gruden said.
He was interviewed on the WTEM (Team980) podcast.
The emails — characterized as racist, homophobic and offensive — were sent by Jon Gruden to former Washington Football Team President Bruce Allen.
Jay Gruden said of his brother: “He’s done a lot of great things for the National Football League and ESPN alike. I’ll let him handle his business. I’m always there for support, like he’s always here for my support when I needed it in a time of crisis so to speak. He’ll bounce back in a big way. He always has, always will.”
He added, “He’s been an incredible influence as far as football is concerned. To bring him down so to speak is unfortunate. It’s brutal. From a brother standpoint, he’s been nothing but supportive. In this time we’re going to stay together and get through this.”
NBC’s Mike Tirico, who was Jon Gruden’s partner for seven years on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football,” expressed disappointment with Gruden’s behavior after more emails came out.
Tirico said on NBC’s “Football Night in America” on Sunday that he had not seen or experienced anything with Gruden that was racist in any way.
“The comments made Sunday on`Football Night in America’ were specific to Jon Gruden’s email related to DeMaurice Smith and addressed my personal experiences with Jon regarding any racist actions or behaviors. As I said on air, his ‘comments are wrong’,” Tirico said in a statement released to The Associated Press. “The content and nature of the subsequently released emails is deplorable, disappointing and express sentiments that have no place in our society.”
Tirico worked with Gruden from 2009 through 2015. Gruden remained with ESPN until he was hired by the Raiders in 2018.
Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy also said on Sunday’s show he didn’t think Gruden’s emails about Smith had racial undertones but that it was an inappropriate attack on a man’s character. Dungy said on social media Monday night after more emails came out that the Raiders did the appropriate thing in moving on from Gruden.