Jon Gruden, the disgraced former coach of the Las Vegas Raiders and one-time “Monday Night Football” analyst, is getting pulled from the latest edition of EA Sports’ popular “Madden NFL” video-game series.
“EA Sports is committed to taking action in maintaining a culture of inclusion and equity,” the game developer and publisher said in a statement Wednesday. “Due to the circumstances of Jon Gruden’s resignation, we are taking steps to remove him from ‘Madden NFL 22.’ We will replace him with a generic likeness via a title update in the coming weeks.”
Gruden resigned as the Raiders’ head coach late Monday after the New York Times reported that he repeatedly sent emails with racist, homophobic and misogynistic language when he worked at ESPN as a commentator on “Monday Night Football” from 2009 until 2018, when he was hired by the Raiders.
Gruden originally came under fire after the Wall Street Journal reported on Oct. 8 that the NFL was reviewing more than 650,000 emails as part of a workplace misconduct probe into the Washington Football Team this summer. The emails included one from Gruden using a racist trope to describe NFL Players Assn. executive director DeMaurice Smith.
According to the Times report, Gruden sent numerous other offensive emails. He called NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a “faggot” and said Goodell should not have pressured Jeff Fisher, coach of the Rams at the time, to draft “queers,” referring to the team’s openly gay player Michael Sam. (The Raiders’ player roster includes defensive end Carl Nassib, who has publicly announced that he is gay.) Gruden also slammed the league’s introduction of women referees, sent images of topless women to former Washington Football Team president Bruce Allen, who was fired in late 2019, and other men (including a pic of two of the team’s cheerleaders) and called on the NFL to fire players who knelt in protest during the national anthem at games, per the Times.
EA released “Madden NFL 22,” developed by EA Tiburon, on Aug. 20. The title has sold more than 250 million copies since the franchise debuted in 1988, according to EA.