Jon Gruden allegedly asked 2021 NFL Draft prospect an inappropriate question

In a revealing account on the podcast, J. Robert Holland, the father of Miami Dolphins safety Jevon Holland, shed light on a controversial interaction involving his son and former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden during the 2021 NFL Draft process.

According to Holland’s father, the Raiders showed considerable interest in Jevon, even calling him daily for a week. However, during one of these conversations, Jon Gruden posed a question that Jevon found inappropriate and offensive. As recounted by J. Robert Holland, Gruden asked Jevon, “Hey, are you going to change your name to Malcolm X when you get into the league?” This question reportedly prompted Jevon to interrupt his father, expressing his stance clearly and decisively.


J. Robert Holland recalled Jevon’s response: “No, I got this, Dad. And, listen, I use my platform to speak for those people who can’t speak, and I’m only speaking for good. And if I’m not the kind of guy who you perceive as speaking for good or doing something wrong, maybe I shouldn’t be part of your organization.” Following this exchange, Jevon promptly ended the call.

The reference to Malcolm X likely stemmed from Jevon Holland’s previous advocacy and outspokenness on social issues during his time at Oregon, actions that earned him comparisons to other athletes like Colin Kaepernick who have used their platforms for activism.

The incident took on added significance later in the year when Jon Gruden resigned as head coach of the Raiders after emails surfaced showing him using derogatory language. Since then, Gruden has not returned to a coaching role in the NFL.

This episode underscores the complexities and sensitivities surrounding player evaluations and interactions in the NFL, particularly regarding social issues and personal identity. Jevon Holland’s response highlights his commitment to using his platform responsibly and standing up for his beliefs, even in the face of adversity during the draft process.