Derek Carr reacts to Jon Gruden scandal, resignation from Raiders: ‘I love the man, hate the sin’

After a whirlwind week or more regarding Jon Gruden, one that ended in his resignation as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders in the wake of leaked emails that show him using racist, homophobic and misogynistic language, it’s all the team can do to focus on their upcoming game in Week 6 against the Denver Broncos. But focus they must, and quarterback Derek Carr knows this, having seen his team go from a red-hot 3-0 start to losing their last two contests. And as Carr breaks his silence publicly on the scandal and fallout of Gruden’s actions, he does so at battle with himself.

“It was a lot to handle,” said an emotional Carr on Wednesday, via ESPN. “I’ll say it that way. You all know me, man. I don’t condone that kind of talk. 

“I don’t talk that way. My kids sure as heck will never talk that way, and it’s hard because I love the man so much. Like I have family members that have done things, I’ve done things that I’m glad that I’m still loved. I think more than anything coach needs people to help him, to love him in whatever areas that we can.

“But at the same time, what’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong.”

Carr went on to explain just how catastrophically new this all is to him, despite being no stranger to a coaching change, in general.

“I’ve never seen something like this happen, and so you don’t know the precedent,” he said. “I don’t know is he going to get suspended — is it a fine? I don’t know. I’m not good at figuring those kinds of things out. 

“But when that came out, shortly after my wife sent it to me. I was getting ready studying and stuff, she sent it to me, I read it and about time I got done reading it, it was over, and he resigned. So, you could imagine there was a lot going on in my head and again I’ll probably get more into it someday about everything that went down for me, but again you all know I got a job to do.”

The news of the scandal landed in Las Vegas with the impact of a nuclear bomb, especially considering the presence of Carl Nassib on the roster — the league’s first-ever active player who’s come out as gay. Nassib was so distraught by the news that he asked for a personal day to sort through it all mentally.

“For Carl — from day one I told Carl I love him, and he knows I got his back,” said Carr. “So, if anyone won’t talk to him, if anyone will mess with him, Carl knows that I have his back that’s for sure, and with that kind of stuff I’ll let Carl handle all that with the teammates and all that kind of stuff. I think Mr. [general manager Mike] Mayock said he’s a population of one really. 

“Like he has every right to feel the way he wants to feel, just like all of our teammates have every right to feel however they want to feel. That was the message for everyone today really, but at the same time with the mindset that we have a game to play, and we have to move on as hard as it is.”

It’s a trying time for the Raiders, who have now elevated special teams coordinator Rich Bisacchia as interim head coach with hopes of him being able to pull the team through this storm and additionally get them back into the win column. For Carr, who has grown to have a deep relationship with his former head coach that includes having spent time with his family, it’s also about reconciling his feelings for Gruden versus his feelings about Gruden’s actions.

“Don’t get me wrong, I love the man, and you hate the sin,” Carr added. “Like for anybody, no one is perfect. If we just started opening up everybody’s private emails and texts, people will start sweating a little bit. Hopefully not too many, but maybe that’s what they should do for all coaches and GMs and owners from now on. 

“You got to open up everything and see what happens. But you hate the action, you hate it. You’re not supposed to like it, but you love the person. And I love the person. I’ve grown to love him so much.”

That said, as noted, there are still a lot of games to be played, and Carr knows the Raiders better focus, and quickly.

“As a football player, like I said, I got a job to do regardless of what’s going on.”

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