Former Raiders punter Marquette King, who said recently that he believes discrimination ended his tenure as one of the NFL’s few Black punters, says that when Jon Gruden was hired as Raiders head coach, King’s fate was sealed.
King said on 95.7 The Game that he thought he was in good standing with the team until then-Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie informed him that Gruden was letting him go.
“As soon as I showed up, Reggie was telling me that Gruden doesn’t want me there,” King said. “We’re about to let you go, we’re gonna put you on the wire, and it’s gonna hit the news soon.”
King would have liked a chance to talk to Gruden, but he never got that chance.
“I never met the guy before. I never talked to him. . . . I never got a chance to meet any of them. I never got a chance to talk to any of them. It was just the weirdest thing ever. It actually kind of hurt. It felt like a loss,” King said.
Although King did briefly catch on with the Broncos after that, he said he was devastated by the Raiders getting rid of him, and he felt that it was more personal than about football.
“Raiders felt like home. That was home. Staying in the bay was home. Wearing those colors, I couldn’t see myself wearing any other colors,” he said. “I honestly should’ve took a year off. I was just so scarred from that, man. Feeling like somebody just has a motive behind just letting you go. I honestly don’t understand. I think it was hate. That’s what I feel like. That’s the only way you can be like that towards somebody if you never met them. I don’t know, some people just got hate in their heart.”
There were reports at the time that Gruden’s problems with King were more about his personality than his punting. King’s latest comments would seem to verify that.