It’s been roughly 10 months since the New York Times unearthed homophobic and misogynistic emails from Super Bowl-winning NFL coach Jon Gruden directed towards commissioner Roger Goodell and other league officials.
On Tuesday, Gruden addressed those messages for the first time.
Speaking at the Little Rock Touchdown club in Arkansas, Gruden, who resigned as coach of the Las Vegas Raiders immediately after the emails were published, denounced his hateful language and said he hopes to receive another coaching opportunity.
“I’m ashamed about what has come about in these emails, and I’ll make no excuses for it,” he said. “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. 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.”
Jon Gruden at the Little Rock Touchdown club commenting on the emails that ended his NFL coaching career. pic.twitter.com/1ClcWtdTRn— Steve Sullivan (@sully7777) August 30, 2022
The emails were discovered as part of the NFL’s investigation into the troubling workplace culture of the Washington Commanders. In one of them, Gruden calls Goodell a “faggot,” and “clueless anti-football pussy.” He also criticized Goodell for supposedly pressuring the Rams to pick Michael Sam in the 2014 NFL Draft, referring to the defensive lineman as a “queer.”
The messages were addressed to then-Washington team president Bruce Allen.
Gruden is currently entangled in a legal battle with the NFL, alleging the leaked emails, which were sent from 2011-18, were part of an effort from the league to “publicly sabotage” his career. (Gruden worked as an analyst for ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” when he sent the emails.)
Of the 650,000 emails collected in the investigation, only Gruden’s were made public, his suit says.
In May, a Nevada judicial court judge ruled the case could continue in open court, denying the NFL’s motion to keep the process sealed.
Gruden’s anti-gay language would be troubling under any circumstances, but especially since he was coaching Carl Nassib, the NFL’s first out active gay player. Nassib took a personal day in the wake of Gruden’s resignation.
The Raiders released Nassib this offseason. The pass-rusher recently signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, one of the league’s Super Bowl favorites.