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Skechers Drops Former NFL Head Coach Jon Gruden After Racist and Homophobic Emails Surface

Embattled former NFL head coach Jon Gruden has lost his deal with Skechers.

The brand, which recently featured Gruden in campaigns promoting its Arch Fit shoes, revealed it has parted ways with the coach in a story first reported by USA Today.

“Skechers is aware of the recent press reporting on the emails of Jon Gruden, which caused him to resign his NFL coaching position. Upon learning of these developments, we immediately terminated Mr. Gruden’s endorsement contract and our affiliation with him,” the company said in a statement emailed to FN. “Skechers believes in equality, fostering tolerance and understanding for all people. It is at the core of who we are as a global lifestyle brand and why we have a zero tolerance policy for such behavior within our business including those who we formally work with. We believe taking a stand against racist or derogatory comments and for inclusion of all is imperative.”

Last week, the Las Vegas Raiders head coach became the subject of headlines after The New York Times reported he sent an email in 2011, which was when he was a Monday Night Football color analyst at ESPN, that used racist language. The email, which NYT reported was sent to then-Washington Football Team president Bruce Allen, featured language directed at NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith, a Black man who has held the role since 2009.

Since then, the NYT has reported on Gruden’s emails further, which revealed several homophobic and misogynistic remarks. The emails reportedly contained slurs and disparaging comments aimed at NFL commissioner Roger Goodell; criticisms of the league’s concussion protocol; the league’s supposed pressure directed at then-St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher to draft the openly gay player Michael Sam in 2014; the calling for the firing of Eric Reid, a player who had knelt alongside Colin Kaepernick during the national anthem; and more.

On Monday, Gruden announced he was stepping down as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders.

“I have resigned as Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction. Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff, and fans of Raider Nation. I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone,” Gruden said in a statement.

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