Las Vegas Raiders general manager Mike Mayock on Wednesday addressed the resignation of coach Jon Gruden, as well as its timing, given that Gruden coached his final game two days after an email from 2011 was made public in which Gruden used a racial trope in describing NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith, who is Black.
NFL Network's Judy Battista reported the Raiders also had been made aware of additional emails from Gruden in which he used homophobic and misogynistic language -- emails that became public in a Monday report from The New York Times -- prior to their Week 5 game against the Chicago Bears, which further called into question the decision to allow Gruden to coach last Sunday.
Per Mayock, team owner Mark Davis had not completed his due diligence in gathering information by the time of Sunday's game, which they went on to lose, 20-9.
"I think the reality of that is that Mark Davis really is the one that was dealing with that and I think he felt like, and I don't want to speak for Mark, but there was an awful lot of due diligence that had to go on on his side of this," said Mayock, who was the first member of the Raiders organization to address the media since Gruden's resignation Monday night.
"All that I knew was a bombshell had been dropped, the players talked about it, we talked about it with the players, Jon dealt with it and then of course I didn't even know. ... Again, Mark was dealing with all the email stuff. We were trying to prepare for a football game. When we came out of the game and the rest of it came out, I think Mark was already in the middle of his due diligence. I think he was trying to figure it all out, and again I know what the guy stands for and I think he was trying to do the right thing."
Davis did not speak to reporters during Wednesday's press conference, but told ESPN: "I have no comment. Ask the NFL. They have all the answers."
Reporting from The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times detailed the use of racist, homophobic and misogynistic terms by Gruden while an employee of ESPN dating as far back as 2010. The leaked correspondence was with former Washington Football Team president Bruce Allen, and was among 650,000 emails collected as part of the NFL's investigation into workplace conditions within the Washington franchise. The NFL Players Association plans to petition the league to release all emails related to the investigation.
"The way I grew up, the Raiders always stood for diversity," Mayock said. "They had the first Latino quarterback, Tom Flores, he also became the second Latino head coach. The first African-American head coach was Art Shell, the first female CEO was Amy Trask. Obviously, all of that was under Al Davis' watch. This week his son, Mark Davis, I think had a tough time, he had a tough week."
Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib, the NFL's first openly gay active player, requested and was granted a personal day Wednesday, per Mayock. Asked if any of the team's Black players have requested personal time as well, Mayock said he's spoken to several Black players about the situation.
"I've talked to several of the Black players. We've reached out to a bunch of players, Black and white," Mayock said. "Everybody's got emotions and feelings. I've talked to some of the people in my department that are Black. My director of pro scouting [Dwayne Joseph], and I just said, 'DJ, I can't put myself in your shoes. Help me.' So we've spent a pretty good amount of time trying to help these guys and talk with these guys and not talk at them, but with them.
"The other thing I would say is for Carl, let's be honest, he's a community of one that's openly gay. We do have a large community of African-American players and I'm trying to, we're trying to do everything we can for that community as well obviously. It started there. Nobody's forgetting that. I'm trying to work with everyone, and we're going to continue to do that."
Following Gruden's resignation, assistant coach Rich Bisaccia was elevated to interim head coach. Mayock offered a full-throated endorsement of Bisaccia, who had been the Raiders' special teams coordinator.
"Look, I've known this guy for a lot of years. Since he's the special teams coach, he's involved with more players on our team than any other coach in our building. He's involved with the offensive guys, he's involved with the defensive guys," Mayock said of Bisaccia. "The irony is I've endorsed him for a lot of head coaching jobs over the years, both in college and the NFL, back when I had a different job. He's got as much respect in the locker room, in our locker room, as any coach I've ever seen in my life."
The Raiders face the Broncos on Sunday in Denver.