Two weeks after being arrested in Jackson Hole, Wyoming for drunkenly wandering into the wrong hotel room and refusing to leave, ESPN Radio host Ryen Russillo returned to the air Tuesday and offered a thorough and heartfelt apology.
Russillo, who was suspended all of last week, prides himself on being honest and transparent with listeners, so it was no surprise he was very forthcoming in his comments Tuesday.
“Last week I was suspended, and I was suspended because two weeks ago, in the vacation that I spent all this time talking about … I got arrested the first night I was in Jackson Hole,” he began. “And I got arrested because I went out that night, drank too much, and I went to the wrong hotel room, and that’s how I ended up getting in trouble.”
Russillo took full ownership of the arrest, pointing out that he had no one to blame but himself.
“The way I felt that day and every day since has been tough, but the thing about screwing up is it can be hard when it’s just you, but that’s actually what’s made this easy is that it’s only my fault,” he said. “I have no one else to blame, I don’t have anything like people say, ‘Wrong place wrong time’—well I guess you could say that, but that was my fault. You know, ‘my friends or this guy or that guy, wrong group of guys, wasn’t me.’ It’s all on me. There is no one else. I could go through a timeline of events of ‘this happens, this happens maybe this whole thing doesn’t happen,’ but then it’s going to sound like I’m making excuses and that I don’t get it. Trust me, I get it. I understand that this is a big mistake because I’m a public figure, and I have my name on a show, and I work at a place like ESPN.”
He then apologized to his family and also to the people at ESPN who had fought for him over the years.
“I’m not saying this because my bosses are listening, but I deserved the suspension,” he said. “I embarrassed you guys, I embarrassed myself. I feel so bad about the people here, as it works as an on-air person, where there are people here that love me, and there are people that are like, ‘Eh, I’m not sure about that guy, I’m not sure that I get it.’ And I think all the people that have been arguing for me, and me feeling like the underdog and finally getting my name and all these things that have happened for me the last 12 years, I don’t want those people in the room to give up fighting for me, because I have let them down. So I’m sorry to them.”
Russillo thanked his friends for supporting him, saying he was pretty down after the arrest and appreciated the phone calls and texts.
“I was super depressed, especially that first week,” he said. “When you are sitting there, thinking about your action and making this kind of mistake, and you’re in a car by yourself driving through Idaho Falls and then into Montana in a rainstorm, and you’re like, ‘I can’t believe I did this, I can’t believe this happened.’ And then I’m sad, and I’m angry, and I’m punching the steering wheel.”
The host said he thought some of the coverage was “sensationalized,” but while many people in his position would complain about that, he simply chalked that up to the cost of being a public figure.
“The other part of this is understanding and reminding myself that I am a public figure and that the rules are different,” he said. “And if you want these jobs, and you want your name to resonate, and you want all the good things with it, you have to understand you’re going to pay a different price when you screw up, and I’ve definitely paid that price. Some of the headlines, I thought, were a little sensationalized, but at the same time, I am the one that put myself in that position.”
Finally, Russillo acknowledged that this arrest will follow him for a while. He said he will do his best to move on, “even though I know for years I’m going to have to own this and wear it because if I say Flacco is having a hard time finding his receivers, you’re going to say three years from now, ‘just like you in hotel rooms.'”