Report: Raiders told players Jon Gruden had COVID-19 to test how they’d react

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Raiders coach Jon Gruden does not have COVID-19, but his players were led to believe he did.

According to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, the Raiders logged into a Zoom team meeting expecting to be addressed by Gruden, only to hear from assistant head coach and special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia that Gruden was hospitalized with COVID-19.

That wasn’t true, but Gruden and the Raiders’ staff wanted to test how the players would react and prepare them for this most unpredictable of NFL seasons.

Whether such a move actually helps the Raiders prepare to expect the unexpected, or whether players merely tune out a coaching staff that lies to them, is open to debate. Gruden, however, apparently thinks that the prank can be part of his team’s effort to crush COVID-19 into the ground.

85 responses to “Report: Raiders told players Jon Gruden had COVID-19 to test how they’d react

  1. What a stupid thing to do! I would think most people wouldn’t be surprised with anyone getting COVID-19. Preparing grown men by pretending to have isn’t cool on any level.

  2. I didnt take it as a prank. I saw it as a test to make sure the players understood it can happen to anyone. Just like the common cold or flu.

  3. Why play games with grown men? Treat the business like a business. This is why they will never break 8 wins with Gruden.

  4. Nothing to see here, it’s because Gruden parts his hair in the middle.
    If Belichick had done that everyone would be saying it was brilliant.

  5. So you have limited time this offseason and this is how they chose to spend it? Gruden better have a good season this year. What an enormous waste of time.

  6. It would have been funny if they all unanimously decided to opt-out upon hearing the news.

  7. How else do you test people?
    Everyone should be thinking “when was I near him?” “Did I social distance?” “Were we both wearing masks?” “Was he up in my grill throwing a Chucky screaming tantrum?” “Who else did he come into contact with?” Everyone in our society should be thinking this.

  8. Came here to comment however, apparently every other fan of football, no matter what team they are a fan of, agrees this was not a very good ploy…

  9. Poor leadership skills, that’s not how you test or prepare professional athletes. I hope they enjoy all the extra work trying to regain the players trust in a sport where trusting your coaches and teammates is critical.

  10. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.
    This is a sure way to lose someone’s trust.
    Really, really stupid move.

  11. With the thousands of people already hospitalized with the virus they really needed to create a fairytale? What a joke!

  12. That is one of the sickest things I have ever heard of. It’s like parents who raise money for their kids with cancer when they don’t have it. They should be fined. What’s next… telling the players he died in a car crash to see how they would react to that?

  13. I think it was smart to instill in the players the seriousness of this damn virus. Make them think. Despite all warnings, it only takes one player to go out to the bars, whatever, and super spread it to the team.

  14. Oh that’s a riot..lets prank the players about a deadly virus.THAT will bring character to a team and bring a championship mentality to the Raiders. Who’s bright idea was that?

  15. They are lucky that none of the players had a relative or loved one battling or ailing from the disease because that could have ended badly. In any case, this is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard of. Psychos.

  16. Reminds me of the Office episode where Michael fake fires Stanley. That may have gone over better than Gruden’s tactic here.

  17. Wow… whats next? Pranking each of the players and telling them that their parents died?

  18. Total lack of respect, like if they were guinea-pigs. Very telling about the mindset of the management. From a moral standpoint, as low as you can go.

  19. Reminds me of the scene in an early episode of The Office when Michael Scott “fires” Pam as a prank. It was stupid then too.

  20. LOL! This is such a stupid thing to do. I doubt very much this helps them in any way and like you said now they know the coaching staff will lie to them. The ends do not justify the means.

  21. descendency says:
    August 5, 2020 at 6:03 pm
    This seems like something a bad middle school coach would do.

    10 0 Rate This

    ——————

    Or Rex Ryan

  22. I totally agree with the 99% of comments that denounce in some way or another, the smallness of the Raider’s management.

  23. Someone beat me to it with the Michael Scott reference! LOL Tells you all you need to know about Gruden and the Raiders if they are so easily compared to Michael Scott and The Office.

  24. this could lead to a very awkward meeting if Gruden actually gets Covid. “uh, this time its real…seriously!”

  25. What is this? 8th grade? Gruden just lost the team. They will tune him out as much as possible.

  26. …what was he expecting to happen? It’s not like they then held practice or a scrimmage to see how it effected performance. Was he just hoping to see at least one player cry? Or was this just to make a line in front of the chopping block for anyone who didn’t care?

  27. Speaks volumes about the culture within the organization. The coaches and the organization don’t trust the players and assume they’re not committed to the team. This is a toxic situation. Who would want to play for these guys?

  28. With the plethora of disinformation already being bantered about, as far as this pandemic goes, I find the actions of Mr. Gruden to be beyond ignorant.
    It really matters not what one’s personal beliefs are, regarding this issue, it’s what the guy standing 5′ in front of you thinks.

  29. Businesses do drills of various scenarios (fire, tornado, active shooter) all the time. But they don’t try to fool their employees into thinking it’s real. That’s unusual.

    Seems like it would have been fine to say, “okay – now what would we do if, say, Coach Gruden got sick?” As a way to talk it through.

    Then again, seeing the degree of narcissism and me-first-ness among so many players these days, maybe unconventional means are necessary to get through.

  30. Jon Gruden thinking he’s smarter than everyone with a really dumb move? How shocking! It’s almost like he is consumed by his ego

  31. dejadoh says:
    August 5, 2020 at 5:28 pm
    How else do you test people?
    Everyone should be thinking “when was I near him?” “Did I social distance?” “Were we both wearing masks?” “Was he up in my grill throwing a Chucky screaming tantrum?” “Who else did he come into contact with?” Everyone in our society should be thinking this.
    ++++
    You don’t ‘test’ people by pretending they may have been exposed to a potentially fatal virus to the player, which could/can affect their families, etc.

    It was a stupid move. Period! He just might have lost the trust of a few players.

    I know I wouldn’t trust him going forward.

  32. Jon Gruden… legend in his own mind and no one else’s. This comment coming to you from a lifelong Raiders fan. SMDH

  33. I’m surprised Gruden didn’t print up fake newspaper headlines to put on the bulletin board to “inspire” the players. Next he’ll be giving them all letterman jackets just like the Texans!

  34. Derek Carr felt very disrespected by this, because he is the franchise QB and they didn’t let him in on the plan. He is very upset.

  35. Reminds me of the idiotic “player jumping off a roof” prank that Pete Carroll pulled at USC…

    And that’s not a positive comparison!

  36. The team allowed the players to complete their virtual fist bumps before telling them the truth…

  37. very intelligent, you must be prepared for everything no wonder why he is a super bowl winning coach and most of the haters only wish their organizations had 3 super bowls

  38. BB told his players that the team was the most important thing to a successful outcome. That was right before he benched Malcom Butler in the SB to satisfy his own ego.

  39. They’ve been in Las Vegas for five minutes and already the gimmicks are exceeding football…

  40. Evidence as to why Al Davis traded Gruden to Tampa Bay. This guy is a clown. Son of Al paid Gruden a stupid amount of money to come back and is now either stuck with him or stuck with the hefty bill when he realizes what a dumb move it was.

  41. I wonder if he was impressed or disappointed in guys’ reactions? Not only is COVID common enough that I doubt anybody would be shocked but the majority of players have rather limited contact with the head coach so they wouldn’t be terribly impacted if he was out for a while. It’d be the equivalent of your boss’s boss telling you this.

  42. Maybe Gruden really does have COVID-19 and the real lie is that the story was faked to test the players’ reactions. Watch out Raiders players, I wouldn’t go anywhere near that coach of yours.

  43. arealisticpackerfan says:
    August 5, 2020 at 5:04 pm
    That seems insanely stupid.
    ——————————
    Or stupidly insane.
    ——————————
    Patrick H says:
    August 5, 2020 at 9:06 pm
    Jon Gruden thinking he’s smarter than everyone with a really dumb move? How shocking! It’s almost like he is consumed by his ego
    ——————————
    Almost?? If I hadn’t first heard the phrase “a legend in his own mind” 50-plus years ago, I would swear it was coined about Gruden.
    ——————————
    fourmoreyeartrump2020 says:
    August 6, 2020 at 6:26 am
    very intelligent, you must be prepared for everything no wonder why he is a super bowl winning coach and most of the haters only wish their organizations had 3 super bowls
    ——————————
    You do know that his ONE Super Bowl win came AGAINST the Raiders and happened in his first year with a team that hadn’t quite gotten over the hump under its previous coach? And that he never came anywhere close to duplicating “his” feat?

  44. The statement that Gruden fake the virus is a total lie and was debunked. By Gruden himself. I love these conspiracy theories all you guys left the dream up right before the season starts such Ridiculousness reminds me of The lamestream media discussing politics.

  45. Mazblast… Gruden not only developed a Super Bowl team when they were cheated by the Tuck Rule but he then took another team that won the Super Bowl that previously had not so your point is invalid just like this article is invalid because nothing was fake than the players were never told he had the coronavirus. But please don’t let reality and facts influence your feelings and opinions

  46. And the following year to the Tuck Rule that was Gruden’s team that made it to the Super Bowl That Was Then beaten by Gruden’s other team. Really you’re like a silly child who needs a lesson in football. Maybe you’re only 14 years old and don’t remember that. You sound like it.

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