Former Washington Football Team head coach Jay Gruden told a DC radio station on Tuesday that he had never been interviewed during an independent NFL investigation into the team’s work culture.
Jay Gruden was Washington’s head coach for five years, before being fired toward the end of the 2019 season. Hetold Team 980 that he was never approached by an investigator during the ten-month study.
“No, I was not questioned,” said Jay Gruden. “I don’t even know what’s really going on. Once I was released there, I was let go and I just flinched.”
The former Washington head coach believes he was not questioned because he was not “aware of a lot of that information” going on behind the scenes in Ashburn.
“I don’t know what they’re looking for, to be honest. I was just a football coach. I thought our staff worked extremely hard. I thought our players worked extremely hard. We did everything we could to win football matches said Jay Gruden.
“As far as other things going, I wasn’t aware of a lot of that information,” Jay Gruden continued. “That was between Dan [Snyder] and Bruce [Allen] and who else was familiar with it. That’s probably why I wasn’t called or questioned. I had nothing to do with any of those things. I was trying to get the players there to play, to get the healthy players there to play and compete.”
The investigation was brought to light by recent New York Times reporting alleging that Jay’s brother Jon Gruden, who recently resigned as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, had sent a series of racist, sexist and transphobic emails to the former Washington Football Team president Bruce Allen and others over the past decade. The emails are said to be part of the original investigation.
Attorney at law Beth Wilkinson led the investigation for the NFL. She spent ten months investigating toxic workplace culture in Washington, following multiple Washington Post articles last summer detailing the experiences of 42 women who were allegedly victims of sexual misconduct by high-ranking employees in Washington.
During his five years under Allen in Washington, Gruden said he had no interaction whatsoever with his former boss who showed the thoughts and language in the emails. Rather, his relationship with Allen was nothing more than football.
“I try to stay in my job as far as football coaching is concerned,” Jay said. “I want to stay in my job as far as football is concerned and try what I can in that respect, try to make the team better. I would like to think that I left the team in a better place than when I became. That’s all I can feel like I’ve done something right. But no. I stayed in my job and did my best.”
In addition, Jay admitted that he could never have imagined that Washington’s work culture would affect his brother’s job at another organization.
“No, that’s not something we could have ever expected to happen. Unfortunately, what happened has already happened. Jon has already apologized. Obviously he never meant to hurt anyone,” Gruden said. . “He’s done a lot of great things for the National Football League and ESPN right. I’d love to let him run his business. I’m always here for his support, as he’s always there for my support when I need it in times of crisis , so to speak. He will bounce back in a big way. He always has and always will.”
“He has been an incredible influence on the football field,” said Jaysaid. “It’s a shame to bring him down because of this, so to speak. It’s brutal. But from a brother’s point of view, he’s only supported me. I wouldn’t have gotten a job or head of an offensive coordinator [coach] job without his support and guardianship. In this time we stick together and we will get through this.”
As a result of the investigation, Washington was fined $10 million. Dan Snyder named his wife, Tanya, co-CEO while he was on temporary leave. Wilkinson, however, provided only an oral report of her findings to the NFL; a written report was never published, leading to considerable criticism throughout the competition.
It was reported on Tuesday that the NFLPA applied for the competition to release the remaining emails of the investigation.
While Jay Gruden plans to support his older brother, the former Washington coach said he doesn’t believe the language Jon Gruden used in his emails is common in the NFL.
“I wouldn’t say it’s run-of-the-mill. I think people in their own personal circles talk in their own personal way to groups that you think are private,” Jay said. “You might say things to a good friend of yours that you’ve known for a long time that you wouldn’t say to anyone else in the world. … He’s a great person, a great human being, a great football coach. But I wouldn’t say this is commonplace. Unfortunately, it happened the way it happened.”
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