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Jon Gruden signed a 10-year deal worth $100 million to coach the then-Oakland Raiders for a second time.
After racist and misogynistic emails of his leaked last year, he resigned from Las Vegas in the middle of his fourth season.
Gruden addressed the situation at the Little Rock Touchdown Club in Arkansas on Tuesday.
Current or former players, along with people in positions of leadership with NFL clubs, have offered differing opinions this week on how pervasive the sorts of racist, homophobic and misogynistic thoughts expressed by Jon Gruden — in emails he wrote from 2011-18, when he was an ESPN analyst between coaching jobs, to then-Washington club executive Bruce Allen — remain around the sport to this day. (AP Photo/John Hefti, File)
“I’m ashamed about what has come about in these emails, and I’ll make no excuses for it. It’s shameful,” Gruden said. “But I am a good person. I believe that. I go to church. I’ve been married for 31 years, I 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.”
Gruden is currently suing the NFL, as he claims the NFL leaked the emails in order to get him out his job. The emails were leaked amid the league’s investigation on the Washington Commanders and their workplace culture.
His agent, Bob LaMonte, also feels the league was out to get him.
“I can tell you right now that was a hit job,” LaMonte said last month.
“Why now, of all things, does that come out in an investigation that had already gone away?” LaMonte added. “And it was 10 years ago. And then why Jon and why the Raiders? He wasn’t even in the league at the time of those e-mails… You have 650,000 e-mails and his six were picked out.”
Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden looks on against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the Raiders final game at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum before relocating to Las Vegas for the 2020 season. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
Gruden also says there is “a lot of misunderstanding out there,” and has a hard time watching the network he used to work for.
“Hell, I worked at ESPN for nine years. I worked hard at that job,” he said. “I don’t even want to watch the channel anymore, because I don’t believe that everything [they say] is true. I know a lot of it is just trying to get people to watch. But I think we gotta get back to reality.”
Gruden coached the Raiders in the AFC Championship Game in 2000. In his first year as the head coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he won Super Bowl XXXVII over his former team.
Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden looks on from the sidelines against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Las Vegas won 26-17. (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
He was placed in the Bucs’ Ring of Honor in 2017, but was removed last year amid the scandal.