Almost one year after accomplishing the “clean sweep” of bigotry in his leaked emails, former Raiders head coach Jon Gruden has reappeared in public, just in time for the start of football season. Surely that’s no coincidence.
The disgraced, red-faced coach sat for an interview Tuesday at the Little Rock Touchdown Club, where he talked about caddying for John Daly, the Arkansas Razorbacks, and the future of football. His answers weren’t that illuminating. Late in the conversation, Gruden was asked about the lawsuit he filed against the NFL, in which he claims that the league selectively leaked his homophobic and racist emails last October to ruin his career. At that point, the actual purpose of this softball interview seeped through. (The clip is below, but you can find the full interview here.)
Gruden didn’t say much about his civil suit, since it’s ongoing, but he did address those emails—by saying he’s a family man who is also religious:
I am not going to say anything but honest things here. I am ashamed about what has come about in these emails, and 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 else in here hasn’t. I just ask for forgiveness, and hopefully, I get another shot.
As far as I know, siring Deuce doesn’t have any correlation to being a slimeball who talks about the size of DeMaurice Smith’s lips. Are they supposed to cancel each other out? Right after that answer, Gruden complained about how ESPN, his former employer, was doing fake news:
But I get choked up, because there’s a lot of misunderstanding out there right now: 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, and that’s why I look forward to Saturdays, because you’re gonna get what you deserve when the whistle blows, and we’ll see if the Razorbacks can get after Cincinnati, which I hope they do.
This is the kind of shit that’ll kill with the audience at the Little Rock Touchdown Club, and it did. After Gruden said he hoped he got another opportunity to coach football, the crowd clapped for 17 seconds, like the guy went through a near-death experience.
Gruden kept mentioning how he’d love to coach again, even in high school, because what else is he going to do? Sure, this guy loves his family (and church, I guess), but it’s so painfully clear that football is the only way he can function day to day. I say this not to make a case for Gruden to get another job, but to marvel at how pathetic he is. He has all the free time in the world and can’t think of another way to use it. Gruden yearns to chew out some second-string player on a hot August day. He wants nothing more than to flirt with another .500 season record.
It would be totally unsurprising to find out that current-day Gruden, with nothing to do, parks himself at a Hooters every weekday around the lunchtime hour, similar to how Raiders owner Mark Davis would post up at a P.F. Chang’s in the Bay Area. Imagine that scene. Everyone within a one-table radius is subject to getting sucked into a conversation with the lonely man eating wings, to hear about what he learned from Bill Walsh, or how Frank Caliendo razzed him but he’s actually a really sharp guy. You know, I have Mike Tirico’s phone number, he says to the four men intently focused on the TV showing Around the Horn. They pretend not to hear him.