Following Jon Gruden’s resignation over offensive emails, Raiders QB Derek Carr says “open all the things” in correspondence from NFL groups.
HENDERSON, Nevada – An emotional Derek Carr who had forged a unique friendship with Jon Gruden over the past three years came up with an idea after the Las Vegas Raiders coach retired after leaked emails showed he was racist, misogynistic and anti-gay language over a period of seven years: “Open everything.”
“If we just started opening everyone’s private emails and texts, people would work up a bit … Hopefully not too many. But maybe they should from now on for all coaches and GMs and owners do is open “” said the Raiders quarterback on Wednesday. “You have to open everything. See what happens.”
Of his former coach, Carr said: “I love the man [but] you hate sin. Nobody is perfect.”
Less than 48 hours after Gruden’s resignation, Raiders owner Mark Davis, general manager Mike Mayock and interim head coach Rich Bisaccia spoke to a team that was emotionally shaken to the core at a Wednesday morning meeting. The three conveyed a simple message: interim coaching situations usually arise late in a losing season.
“All of our goals are ahead of us,” Mayock said. “[We’re] 3-2, a game from the AFC [West] lead. The focus must be on Denver. “
The Raiders, who play for the Denver Broncos on Sunday, have a two-game losing streak.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Mayock said Bisaccia was the right choice while hinting that the rest of the season would be an audition for everyone involved.
“He has as much respect in the locker room, in our locker room, as any coach I’ve ever seen in my life,” Mayock said of Bisaccia, who will keep his duties as coordinator for special teams.
“Is he a great coach? Hell yeah,” Mayock continued. “But he’s an even better man, and what I’ve always told people when I approve of him is that he’s the most natural male leader I’ve ever met.”
Mayock now has the final say in personnel decisions on Bisaccia, a designation Gruden previously held on Mayock.
Bisaccia, 61, has been an NFL assistant for 20 seasons, 11 of them under Gruden, with stints in Tampa Bay, San Diego, Dallas and the Raiders. But he has never been a head coach at any level since his career began in 1983.
He read a prepared statement at the beginning of his media availability.
“Coach Gruden gave me the chance to train in the National Football League and I will always appreciate that,” said Bisaccia in a shaky voice. “Nevertheless, we all bear responsibility here and must be responsible for our words and our actions. Nobody is bigger than the raiders’ shield. The Raiders have always stood for diversity, inclusion and social justice. It is important to live these ideals and carry them into the future. We can’t change the past, but we can do more to maybe make tomorrow better. “
Bisaccia also repeated Mayock’s message.
“The special thing about us is that we have a good team,” he said. “We have 12 games [remaining], we feel we have a lot of time, we feel that all of our goals are still ahead of us.
“All of a sudden we were 3-0, we lost two games. There’s a bump in the ground, it’s not the end of the road. We’re just going to stick our heads together and put the players in the best position.” You can win the game and we’ll see what happens on Sunday … I have a 7 year old granddaughter who can put a couple of Xs and O’s on the board, but I tell the players all the time they are the ones who Bring the X and O to life. “
Gruden had been the playcaller on the offensive. That responsibility now rests with Offensive Coordinator Greg Olson, who was the Raiders’ OK and playcaller when Carr was a rookie in 2014.
Carr said it was familiar to hear Olson’s voice during exercise, but staggering considering how long he’d been listening to Gruden.
The practice field was a respite from the emotional bump the Raiders had felt.
“What I told the players this morning is that there are a range of opinions about Jon Gruden, from total condemnation to full of empathy and everything in between,” Mayock said. “And what I said to the players is basically that you have a right to your position. You have a right to your opinion about it. But ultimately … the team has to come first at some point, after family and your religion .
“I’ve spoken to several black players. We reached out to a number of players, black and white. Everyone has emotions and feelings. I’ve spoken to some people in my department who are black. My head of professional scouting [Dwayne Joseph]I just said, ‘DJ, I can’t put myself in your shoes, help me.’ “
Defensive End Carl Nassib, the first active NFL player to announce he was gay, requested and was given a personal tag.
“We spent a fair amount of time helping these guys and talking to them, and not talking about them, but talking to them,” Mayock said. “The other thing I would say is only for Carl [Nassib], let’s face it, he’s a community of people who are openly gay.
“We have a large community of African American players. Of course we try to do everything we can for this community as well. It started there. Nobody forgets that. I try to work with everyone and we will continue to do so.”
When asked who he was thinking of on his first day as an interim coach, Bisaccia said he was thinking of his parents.
“My father [acted like he] was the head coach of the New York Giants, “he said.” He just never told anyone, you know? I have five sisters, four children and five grandchildren. Have the opportunity to coach the Las Vegas Raiders. Wow huh? So, I think that’s really the only thing I’m going to choke on. “