Nov. 3—Las Vegas Raiders team chaplain and former star quarterback Randall Cunningham said Jon Gruden has continued to attend services at his church since he resigned in disgrace as Raiders head coach last month and the pastor has reached out to him.
Gruden resigned Oct. 11 after emails were uncovered dating back to 2010 in which Gruden used racist, homophobic and misogynistic terms. Cunningham has been close to Gruden since he was his offensive coordinator with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1995, and Gruden has attended Cunningham's Las Vegas church, Remnant Ministries, since the Raiders moved to the city from Oakland in 2020.
"I tell him, I said, 'Hey, I know you as a person. I don't believe you're a racist in any faction of the game,' " Cunningham, who is Black, said in a phone interview. "If anybody pulled up our records, we would all be guilty. So, I don't condemn him nor do we as a church condemn him. He's a faithful person, and I love that about him. And he cares about people, so it's kind of just what it is."
Cunningham played in the NFL from 1985-1995 and from 1997-2001, including a 1997-99 stint with the Vikings.
Gruden's resignation came after a report in the Wall Street Journal in which he used a racial trope in a 2011 email to then-Washington team president Bruce Allen to describe NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith, who is Black, and after the New York Times reported that Gruden sent other emails to Allen dating back to 2010 in which he used homophobic and misogynistic terms. The emails were among 650,000 the NFL looked at during an investigation of the Washington Football Team for workplace misconduct, and were written when Gruden was ESPN's Monday Night Football analyst.
Cunningham, who became an ordained minister in 2003 and opened his church in 2006, said as a pastor he is "always looking for righteousness." He made note of a Bible verse, and said regarding Gruden, "We're all forgiven and we can mature in Christ." He added, "I told Jon, I said, 'If my responsibility is to be here and to be a brother to you, I accept that responsibility.' ... I pray for him and his family and I love him. He's my brother. And that isn't going to change."
In a text message, Gruden wrote about Cunningham, "I've attended his church since I've been here. He's the best."