Officially, ESPN had no comment on Friday night regarding the email sent by Jon Gruden while he was working for the four-letter network. On Sunday, ESPN is saying plenty about the situation, courtesy of some on-the-record comments from their former employee.
Gruden admitted to Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com that one of the emails sent by Gruden to former Washington executive Bruce Allen included a “vulgar description” of Commissioner Roger Goodell.
“I was in a bad frame of mind at the time [in 2011], and I called Roger Goodell a [expletive] in one of these emails too,” Gruden told Mortensen on Friday night, presumably with the understanding that it would become (as it did) a Sunday Splash! report. “They were keeping players and coaches from doing what they love with a lockout. There also were a lot of things being reported publicly about the safety of the sport that I love. I was on a mission with high school football [in the Tampa, Florida, area] during that time, and there were a lot of parents who were scared about letting their kids play football. It just didn’t sit well with me.”
Here’s the thing about Gruden. At any given moment, there’s something that doesn’t sit well with him. At any given moment, there’s something that makes him mad. He’s one of those guys who isn’t happy unless he’s irritated about something. So it’s not like the lockout sparked some major break from his preexisting tendency to not piss and moan about anything and everything.
Thus, while the context as to why Gruden was mad about Goodell in 2011 is helpful, it’s ultimately irrelevant. He made a vulgar reference to the man whose name appears on every football, which for whatever reason wasn’t leaked to Andrew Beaton of the Wall Street Journal late last week.
It also would be nice to know what Gruden actually said. Surely, ESPN could have given us a hint. We’re guessing it’s a four-syllable word starting with “M” and ending with “-ucker.” Regardless, the generic use of “expletive” sheds no light on what Gruden said about Goodell.
Gruden added that he’s aware of five to seven total emails that are in issue, and that (as expected) there are “harsh words” in some of the emails about team owners. Speculation surely will continue as to the contents of the others unless and until they emerge.