Raiders and NFL disciplinary action expected for Gruden
The Las Vegas Raiders coach, Jon gruden, made a racist comment referring to the executive director of the NFL Players Association, DeMaurice Smith, in an email 10 years ago, reported Friday the Wall Street Journal.
The email, sent to the president of Washington Football Team in July 2011 when the NFL and its players were trying to resolve a lockout, it claimed that Smith had “lips the size of Michellin tires,” reported the Journal.
Gruden, who was employed at the time as a principal analyst for Monday Night Football, told ESPN that he did not recall writing the email, but that he apologized for the consequences.
He agreed to habitually use the term “rubber lips” to “refer to a guy I caught lying …”.
“I am ashamed to have insulted De Smith,” Gruden told ESPN, adding: “I never had a racial thought when I used it … It embarrasses me. I certainly never wanted it to sound like that.”
Gruden said he has spoken to the owner of the Raiders, Mark Davis, and hopes to talk to him again. He wasn’t sure if he would face any punishment from Davis or the NFL, which condemned Gruden’s comment in a statement Friday afternoon.
“The email from Jon Gruden denigrating DeMaurice Smith is appalling, abhorrent and totally contrary to the values of the NFL,” said NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy. “We condemn the statement and regret any damage its publication may inflict on Mr. Smith or anyone else.”
The league is investigating the matter, with possible disciplinary action for Gruden, according to multiple reports.
In a statement Friday afternoon, Davis called the content of the email “disturbing” and “not what the Raiders stand for.”
“A reporter first informed us about the email late yesterday and we are reviewing it along with other materials that the NFL provided us today,” Davis reported. “We are broaching the matter with Coach Gruden and will have no further comment at this time.”
Gruden said he spoke with Raiders players Friday morning to let them know the Journal report would be out.
“I am transparent with my players,” Gruden commented to ESPN.
“That may not have been the best time of my life,” referring to the time the email was sent during the 2011 lockout. “I expressed a lot … I never felt like we were getting the truth and honesty [en las negociaciones]. I just felt that [el ex director ejecutivo de la NFLPA] Gene Upshaw would never have let it go this far. “
The email came to light during the NFL’s investigation of misconduct at the Washington team, as “the league was informed of the existence of emails that raised issues beyond the scope of that investigation,” according to McCarthy. Top league executives reviewed the content of more than 650,000 emails, including the one the Journal reported was written by Gruden to Bruce Allen, then president of the Washington team. The NFL then sent relevant emails to the Raiders for review.
“This is not the first racist comment I’ve heard and it probably won’t be the last,” Smith told the Journal. “This is a tough-skinned job for someone with dark skin, as it has always been for many people who look like me and work in American corporations. You know people sometimes say things behind your back that are racist; people talk and write about you using racist and coded language ”.
“Racism like this comes from the fact that I’m at the same table as them and they don’t believe that someone like me belongs,” Smith said. “I’m sorry my family has to see something like this, but I’d rather let them know. I won’t let that define me.”
Associated Press contributed to this report.