Former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden made his first public appearance in months at the Little Rock Touchdown Club and addressed the homophobic and misogynistic emails that led to his firing.
Gruden, who was a speaker at the event, expressed remorse for his actions and said:
“I’m not going to say anything but honest things here. I’m ashamed about what has come about in these emails. And I’ll make no excuses for it. It’s shameful. But, I am a good person. I believe that. I go to church. I’ve been married for 31 years. I’ve got three great boys. I still love football.”
Gruden then said he wants a chance at redemption and hopes to coach once more in the NFL:
“I’ve made some mistakes, but I don’t think anybody in here hasn’t. And I just ask for forgiveness, and hopefully I get another shot.”
Why was Jon Gruden fired by the Raiders?
During the NFL’s investigation into workplace malpractice accusations levied towards the top brass of the Washington Commanders front office, the league uncovered emails sent by then ESPN analyst Jon Gruden to the team’s president Bruce Allen.
The emails that Gruden sent contained homophobic, sexist, and racist language. In an email, the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach called NFL Players’ Association head DeMaurice Smith “Dumboriss” and added that he had “lips the size of Michelin tires.” He called NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a “f****t” and a “clueless anti-football p***y.”
The emails were leaked to the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, which published reports which led to Jon Gruden resigning from his post as the head coach of the Raiders before the team could fire him.
A month later, he filed a lawsuit against the NFL, alleging that the league and the commissioner destroyed his career by leaking emails with homophobic, sexist, and anti-gay slurs to ensure he was fired from his post as the head coach of the Raiders. The league attempted to have the lawsuit thrown out, but their motion was denied.
Gruden may or may not be able to score a victory against the NFL and Roger Goodell in the court of law, but it’ll be impossible for him to repair his reputation in the court of public opinion. The disgraced head coach will likely never be able to repent for his mistakes, and no team will want to hire a coach with his reputation, regardless of how remorseful he is.