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Pereira: Jon Gruden was ‘abusive’ to officials



Of all the things Jon Gruden accomplished during his tenure as head coach for the both the Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, getting along with the officials was not one of them. In fact, former NFL sideline official and Supervisor of Officiating Mike Pereira discussed his experience with Gruden, who will return for his second tenure as head coach of the Raiders next season, with Gary & Larry on Monday morning.

“I’d have to say Jon Gruden was tough,” Pereira said. “But that was our fault. When I was in the office, I used to get calls from officials saying ‘Gruden crossed the line.’ And he could be abusive on the sideline. Very abusive on the sideline. And I used to get irritated with the officials because they’d call me to say that he crossed the line and I’d say, ‘what did you do about it?’”

After 14 years of officiating college football, Pereira was hired as a NFL sideline judge in 1996. Two years later, Gruden was hired as the head coach of the Raiders and Pereira transitioned to NFL Supervisor of Officiating. Although they never crossed paths as head coach and referee, Pereira took calls from officials about how difficult Gruden was to work with, even after he jumped to serve as head coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002.

“You’d like to, but you don’t get the right to do it and you can’t even respond and say the same things back to him that he’s saying to you,” Pereira said. “That’s part of the double standard that I don’t like about officiating, especially when you go down and see it at the high school level. You have coaches who are abusing officials by using language that’s really not acceptable and of course by just doing a tirade on the sideline.”

After Gruden served his final year as head coach of the Buccaneers in 2008, his disrespectful reputation was firmly cemented among the officials. Now, Gruden is returning to the sidelines on a 10-year, $100 million deal with the Raiders and has an opportunity to mend that relationship.

“What’s difficult is, these are people out there, the officials are trying to do the best job that they can and it’s really tough,” Pereira said. “I don’t think it’s right for any individual for anybody to verbally abuse anybody whether that’s in an athletic contest or not.”

To listen to the full interview check out the podcast below, and skip to 16:20 for Pereira on Gruden.