Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden was engulfed by a rapidly intensifying firestorm after the publication of an email where he used a racially insensitive trope to describe NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith.
In the 2011 email which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, Gruden, who was at the time an analyst on ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcasts, wrote that “Dumboriss Smith has lips the size of michellin tires,” according to the report.
The email, which was a part of an investigation of the workplace environment of Washington’s NFL franchise, was sent to Bruce Allen, president of the team when it was still known as the Redskins with Gruden expressing his frustration over a potential lockout that could have threatened the NFL’s 2011 season.
According to the WSJ, the NFL was “informed of the existence of emails that raised issues beyond the scope of that investigation.”
“Over the past few months, the NFL said, senior NFL executives have reviewed more than 650,000 emails, including this one, at commissioner Roger Goodell‘s direction. Earlier this week, the executives presented a summary of that review to Goodell. The league added that it is sharing emails pertaining to Gruden with the Raiders,” the paper reported.
The NFL slammed Gruden in a scathing statement, “The email from Jon Gruden denigrating DeMaurice Smith is appalling, abhorrent and wholly contrary to the NFL’s values,” the league wrote. “We condemn the statement and regret any harm that its publication may inflict on Mr. Smith or anyone else.”
NFL statement: “The email from Jon Gruden denigrating DeMaurice Smith is appalling, abhorrent and wholly contrary to the NFL’s values. We condemn the statement and regret any harm that its publication may inflict on Mr. Smith or anyone else.” https://t.co/b9IUku9saH
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 8, 2021
Gruden, who could face disciplinary action, told the Wall Street Journal that while he does not recall specifically writing the email, that he often referred to people whom he thought of as being dishonest as having “rubber lips,” he also apologized, “I’m really sorry,” he said.
He added, “I was upset, I used a horrible way of explaining it.”
“I don’t think he’s dumb. I don’t think he’s a liar,” said Gruden. “I don’t have a racial bone in my body, and I’ve proven that for 58 years.”
In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, Smith expressed his dismay over Gruden’s email.
“This is not the first racist comment that I’ve heard and it probably will not be the last. This is a thick skin job for someone with dark skin, just like it always has been for many people who look like me and work in corporate America,” he said. “You know people are sometimes saying things behind your back that are racist just like you see people talk and write about you using thinly coded and racist language.”
“Racism like this comes from the fact that I’m at the same table as they are and they don’t think someone who looks like me belongs,” He added. “I’m sorry my family has to see something like this but I would rather they know. I will not let it define me.”
Gruden’s boss, Raiders owner Mark Davis issued a statement saying that the email is “disturbing and not what the Raiders stand for.”
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) October 8, 2021
Davis’ father, the legendary Al Davis was a champion of civil rights, and in 1963, refused to allow the Oakland Raiders to play a preseason game in Alabama due to the state’s segregation laws. He also hired the former star lineman Art Shell as the league’s first black head coach of the modern NFL era.
It’s definitely been a bad week for Gruden whose team’s ugly 28-14 Monday Night Football loss to the division-rival Los Angeles Chargers knocked the Raiders from the ranks of the unbeaten.
Now the email scandal threatens to be an ongoing distraction both inside and outside of the locker room with the “woke” mob braying for his head on a stick and the NFL’s embrace of the Black Lives Matter agenda and its incessant virtue-signaling about racism making a harsh response practically inevitable.
The Raiders host the Chicago Bears at Allegiant Stadium on Sunday.
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