TAMPA, Fla. — "...if Jon Gruden shows TRUE remorse-and more importantly changes his mindset and actions-I would forgive him," Former Buccaneers head coach Tony Dungy tweeted in part Tuesday.
The hall of fame coach tweeted to further clarify statements he said regarding Gruden over the weekend during "Sunday Night Football."
Gruden took over as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2001 after Dungy's tenure. Gruden resigned as coach of the Las Vegas Raiders after emails he sent before being hired in 2018 contained racist, homophobic and misogynistic comments.
He stepped down after The New York Times reported that Gruden frequently used misogynistic and homophobic language directed at Commissioner Roger Goodell and others in the NFL.
The NFL Network first reported the development.
“What Jon Gruden did in that email: definitely insensitive, definitely inappropriate, definitely immature. I thought he attacked the character of a man," Dungy said during the Bills-Chiefs rain delay Sunday night. "But he apologized for it. He said it wasn't racially motivated. I have to believe him. This was an incident that was 10 years ago. He apologized and I think we have to accept that apology and move on.”
In light of new emails, however, Dungy said he doesn't "defend" the other "attacks on the character of people from all walks of life" either and said Gruden's termination was "appropriate."
Still, Dungy said he would "forgive" Gruden if he shows "true remorse," saying it's "biblical" to do so.
It was a rapid downfall for Gruden, who is in the fourth year of a 10-year, $100 million contract he signed with the Raiders in 2018. It started on Friday when the Wall Street Journal reported that Gruden used a racist term to describe NFL union chief DeMaurice Smith in a 2011 email to former Washington executive Bruce Allen.
The emails were discovered in a workplace misconduct investigation into the Washington Football Team but ended up costing Gruden his job when they also showed Gruden denounced the drafting of a gay player and the tolerance of players protesting during the playing of the national anthem among other issues.
Gruden apologized for his “insensitive remarks” about Smith, saying they were made out of frustration over the 2011 lockout. But the latest emails sent from between 2011-18 when Gruden was an analyst for ESPN show his use of derogatory language went well beyond that.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.