Jon Gruden discusses "shameful" emails

Jon Gruden is willing to admit he wrote “shameful” emails, but the disgraced former NFL head coach is also willing to place some blame on ESPN for his dismissal from football.

Gruden joined the Little Rock Touchdown Club on Tuesday, and during the event, he addressed the scandal that ended his tenure with the Las Vegas Raiders last year.

“I’m ashamed about what has come about in these emails, and I’ll make no excuses for it, it’s shameful,” said Gruden. However, while the disgraced former NFL head coach claims he won’t make excuses for his actions, he will make buts about it. “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 was visibly emotional as he pleaded for forgiveness, prompting a round of applause from the crowd.

“I get choked up because there’s a lot of misunderstanding out there right now,” Gruden continued after a brief pause. “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. I know a lot of it is just trying to get people to watch, but I think we got to get back to reality.”

There’s certainly a path for Gruden to getting a second chance, but blaming ESPN isn’t it. The reality is, Gruden and the Raiders parted ways during the NFL season last year after leaked emails showed the now former head coach using racist, sexist and homophobic language between 2011 and 2018. Gruden’s messages were revealed by the New York Times after the NFL reviewed more than 650,000 emails during their investigation into an alleged toxic workplace culture created by the Washington Commanders. Most of those 650,000 emails remain under wraps, but that doesn’t mean Gruden didn’t deserve to lose his job, it just means there are likely others in the NFL who should be fired as well.

In the months since he parted ways with the Raiders, ESPN and other outlets are not misconceiving Gruden’s role in the self-admitted “shameful” email scandal. ESPN was reporting on the information about Gruden that the New York Times uncovered, or received, regardless of the fact that the rest of the NFL’s findings in those 650,000 emails are sitting beneath a tight lid.

Last week, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith and Molly Qerim stood up for Gruden, claiming they don’t want to condemn the former head coach and participate in “cancel culture,” even though the false narrative of “cancel culture” has nothing to do with Gruden’s dismissal from the NFL, but that’s a different topic. To Gruden’s credit, he has not claimed to be a victim of cancel culture, although he is creeping in that direction by passing some of the blame from his wrongdoing onto ESPN.

[Little Rock Touchdown Club, Barrett Sports Media]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to