Jon Gruden is opening up about the email controversy that ended his tenure as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders last year. While appearing at the Little Rock Touchdown Club in Arkansas, Gruden talked about how sending the emails was a mistake while also insisting he is not a bad human being.
"I'm ashamed about what has come about in these emails, and I'll make no excuses for it," Gruden said, per ESPN. "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."
Gruden's emails in question Gruden surfaced in a Wall Street Journal article on Oct. 9 last year and contained racist, misogynistic and anti-gay language. The New York Times published a story on Oct. 11 that contained the emails. Gruden, who signed a 10-year contract reportedly worth $100 million with the Raiders in 2018, resigned from his position that night. The emails came to light during an investigation by the NFL into workplace conditions with the Washington organization. At the time, Gruden was messaging Bruce Allen who was an executive for Washington. Gruden filed a lawsuit against the NFL for allegedly singling him out. In May, a judged rule in favor of Gruden, opening the possibility of a jury trial.
"I get choked up, you know, because there's a lot of misunderstanding out there right now," he said. "What you read, what you hear, what you watch on TV. Hell, I worked at ESPN for nine years. I worked hard at that job. I don't even want to watch the channel anymore because I don't believe everything is true. And I know a lot of it is just trying to get people to watch. But I think we've got to get back to reality."
Gruden, 59, originally was the head coach of the Raiders from 1998 to 2001. He was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002 and led the team to a Super Bowl title in his first season with the team. The Buccaneers fired Gruden in 2009 and was hired by ESPN in May of that year where he was the color analyst for Monday Night Football.