Jon Gruden denies pulling coronavirus-themed stunt
Jon Gruden insists a report suggesting that he attempted to prank Las Vegas Raiders players by having an assistant coach tell them he tested positive for COVID-19 is patently false. What’s more, Gruden points out such a gambit would be in extremely poor taste, as the coronavirus is no joking matter.
A report on NFL Network last week indicated Gruden had assistant head coach/special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia tell players on a video call that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and was hospitalized.
It was spun in the report in a way to suggest that the Raiders pulled the stunt to teach players a lesson about how the coronavirus needs to be taken seriously. Gruden says regardless of motive, the report could not be further from the truth.
“There was a (report) I faked the virus, which is totally untrue,” Gruden said, per the Las Vegas Review Journal. “I take this as serious as anyone.”
Gruden made it clear this week that he fully supports the protocols and procedures established by the Raiders to protect players, coaches, staff and essential personnel.
When asked to gauge his confidence level on the NFL pulling off the 2020 season amid the ongoing and in some places burgeoning pandemic, Gruden said it’s out of his hands.
“It’s not my decision,” he said. “I trust the medical people advising us on what to do. I take it very seriously. I want to do what’s right for our players and coaches to be as safe as possible. I want to be part of beating this virus into the dirt. Whether or not we should or shouldn’t or will or won’t is not a question I have. I try to stay focused on the mission we have to be a great football team, the best we can possibly be, and stay healthy.”
The Raiders have begun preparations for the season in earnest now that training camp has opened. Barring any setbacks or changes to the NFL schedule, the Raiders will open their 2020 campaign with a Week 1 showdown with the Carolina Panthers on Sept. 13.