NBC’s Tirico expresses disappointment in Gruden’s behavior

Sports

Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden speaks on his headset during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

NBC’s Mike Tirico, who was Jon Gruden’s partner for seven years on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football,” expressed disappointment with Gruden’s behavior after more emails came out on Monday showing a repeated pattern of racist, homophobic and misogynistic comments.

Gruden stepped down as Las Vegas Raiders coach Monday night after The New York Times reported that Gruden frequently used misogynistic and homophobic language directed at Commissioner Roger Goodell and others in the NFL.

Tirico said on NBC’s “Football Night in America” on Sunday that he had not seen or experienced anything with Gruden that was racist in any way.

“The comments made Sunday on`Football Night in America’ were specific to Jon Gruden’s email related to DeMaurice Smith and addressed my personal experiences with Jon regarding any racist actions or behaviors. As I said on air, his ’comments are wrong’,” Tirico said in a statement released to The Associated Press. “The content and nature of the subsequently released emails is deplorable, disappointing and express sentiments that have no place in our society.”

Tirico worked with Gruden from 2009 through 2015. Gruden remained with ESPN until he was hired by the Raiders in 2018.

Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy also said on Sunday’s show he didn’t think Gruden’s emails about Smith had racial undertones but that it was an inappropriate attack on a man’s character. Dungy said on social media Monday night after more emails came out that the Raiders did the appropriate thing in moving on from Gruden.

“That being said, if Jon Gruden shows TRUE remorse-and more importantly changes his mindset and actions-I would forgive him,” Dungy said on Twitter. “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 was fired as Tampa Bay’s coach after the 2001 season and was replaced by Gruden.

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