The fact that the Las Vegas Raiders made a playoff run last season was truly unbelievable, considering all of the off-field issues the franchise was dealing with. One of the biggest involved then-head coach Jon Gruden, ending with him resigning in the middle of the season.
A number of e-mails between Gruden and former Washington Commanders president Bruce Allen were leaked. Those e-mails from Gruden included a number of racial slurs and bigoted remarks aimed at the likes of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and former NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith that ultimately caused Gruden to resign.
In an appearance at the Little Rock Touchdown Club, Gruden spoke about the e-mails, saying that he was ashamed of them but still believes he is a good person, as transcribed by Jack Baer of Yahoo Sports:
“I’m not going to say anything but honest things here. I’m ashamed about what has come about in these emails. I’ll make no excuses for it. 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. I just ask for forgiveness and, hopefully, I get another shot.”
There is quite simply no excuse for the things that were said in those e-mails from Gruden, and to his credit, he is taking responsibility for that. He paid the price for it with his job, but he is trying not to allow that to define who he is as a person. Whether he gets another shot in the NFL as a coach is anyone’s guess, but he is surely going to at least try to get his foot back in the door.
That likely won’t happen anytime soon, however, as Gruden remains in a lawsuit with the NFL. Just a month after his resignation, Gruden sued the league claiming he was forced to resign and saying the NFL and Goodell were trying to destroy his career, noting that while his e-mails were leaked, those from Washington’s side were not.
Gruden is seeking punitive damages from the league, which has tried to get the case dismissed or moved into private arbitration. Both of those motions were denied by a judge earlier this year, however.