Former NFL and Raiders wide receiver Andre Rison recently defended his former coach Jon Gruden, telling TMZ Sports that he knows Gruden is "not a racist", amidst his resignation as Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. On October 11th, Gruden released a statement to the media announcing he'd be stepping down from the position, as to not be a distraction for the team moving forward, following the use of racist and homophobic words in various emails spanning nearly a decade being brought to light.
Rison, however, told TMZ that regardless of the email scandal, he still believes Jon Gruden is a good person, who simply just made a mistake. Telling reporters that, "We all say some things behind closed doors that we regret or we wouldn't say in public. We've all made mistakes."
As far as the context of the emails getting out, Rison said, "I believe who he said and what he said and who he intended it for, it was for that person and nobody else."
Ethan Miller/Getty ImagesThe former Raiders wideout last played under Gruden back in 2000 but has since kept his relationship with his former head coach. Adding that throughout all the years that he's known Gruden, he'd never seen anything that hinted at him being a racist or a bad person. He even went as far as to offer an apology on Gruden's behalf, as he admitted that his former head coach was intentional in what he said in his messages to people like DeMaurice Smith and others.
Rison then spoke on what he'd say to Gruden and what's potentially next for the former head coach, with this potentially being his last stop in the NFL. Saying that "You've already given this game some of the best tutelage and best leadership you could possibly give. So if you don't ever touch the game again, don't feel any type of way... Go on with your life and enjoy it with the rest of the Gruden family."
Las Vegas' special team's coach, Rich Bisaccia, has taken over as the interim head coach for the Raiders since Gruden's departure.
Check out Rison's entire response, below: