Story at a glance

  • Former Los Angeles Rams coach Jeff Fisher challenged allegations that the NFL pressured him into drafting an openly gay player.
  • Jon Gruden, who was an analyst at the time, reportedly wrote in an email that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell pressured the Rams organization into drafting defensive end Michael Sam in the seventh round of the NFL draft in 2014.
  • Gruden resigned as the Raiders head coach on Monday.

Former Los Angeles Rams coach Jeff Fisher on Tuesday challenged allegations made by former Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden, who claimed the NFL pressured Fisher into drafting an openly gay player. 

Gruden, who was an analyst at the time, reportedly wrote in an email NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell pressured the Rams organization into drafting defensive end Michael Sam in the seventh round of the NFL draft in 2014. 

“Michael Sam was the SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2013, and we selected him in the 2014 NFL Draft based on his defensive production and pass rushing skill set on the field," Fisher posted on Twitter.

"As a head coach for over 20 years, we drafted or didn't draft players based on a variety of qualities. Their sexual orientation would never - and should never - play a part in the decision-making process,” Fisher continued, noting his continued support for Sam. 

"Lastly, the NFL never encouraged or discouraged me regarding the selection of a potential prospect."


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Sam officially left professional football in 2015 after brief stints with the Rams and the Dallas Cowboys practice squad. 

Gruden resigned as the Raiders head coach on Monday after a string of bombshell reports from The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal uncovered a series of racist, homophobic and misogynistic messages he sent over a seven-year period prior to his tenure with the Las Vegas organization. 

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


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Published on Oct 13, 2021