Tony Dungy, a former NFL coach and a current TV analyst for NBC, has clarified comments he made Sunday about Raiders coach Jon Gruden after Gruden resigned in the wake of reports that he exchanged racist, sexist and homophobic emails with other prominent league officials.
Gruden resigned after two separate reports were published detailing emails he sent to Washington executive Bruce Allen when Gruden was working for ESPN between 2009 and 2017. The first report, published by the Wall Street Journal on Friday, detailed a racist remark Gruden made about DeMaurice Smith, a Black man and the director of the NFL Player's Association.
Gruden apologized for the email, and following a loss to the Chicago Bears on Sunday, he told reporters that the message was not racially motivated and that he did not "have a racial bone in his body."
During the "Sunday Night Football" broadcast, Dungy called Gruden's email "definitely insensitive, definitely inappropriate, definitely immature." But he also said he believed Gruden's statement that the email wasn't racially motivated.
"He apologized for it. He said it wasn't racially motivated. I have to believe him," Dungy said on the broadcast, according to Sportcasting.com. "I think this was an incident that was 10 years ago. He apologized. I think we need to accept that apology and move on."
A day later, The New York Times published a more extensive report that detailed more insensitive emails that Gruden had sent to Allen and their friends. Those emails included more racially charged language, messages that included homophobic slurs and threads that insulted the NFL's use of female referees.
On Tuesday morning — hours after Gruden and the Raiders parted ways — Dungy clarified his comments in a short Twitter thread.
Dungy said he believed the Raiders did the right thing in parting ways with Gruden after it became clear the offensive language was a pattern. He also added that he would be open to forgiving Gruden if he showed "true" remorse.
"As Christians that's what the Bible commands us to do because that's what God does for us. I know that's not popular, but it's biblical," Dungy wrote.
Now more e mails have come. More inappropriate, immature, wrongful attacks on the character of people from all walks of life. I don’t defend those either and given the apparent pattern of behavior the Raiders did the appropriate thing in terminating Jon Gruden.— Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) October 12, 2021
That being said, if Jon Gruden shows TRUE remorse-and more importantly changes his mindset and actions-I would forgive him. As Christians that’s what the Bible commands us to do because that’s what God does for us. I know that’s not popular but it’s biblical. pic.twitter.com/yrhFU3i7o7— Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) October 12, 2021