Jon Gruden is used to being in the spotlight, whether because of his coaching methods, persona, or even as a commentator. But there's no happy reason for Gruden to be in the spotlight today. In fact, it's disturbing.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Gruden, now the Las Vegas Raiders head coach, sent an email to Bruce Allen, the former team president of the Washington Football Team, in 2011 where he used racist, insensitive language to refer to NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith.
What did Jon Gruden say about NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith?
The NFL and the NFLPA were in a tough spot in 2011, as the two sides couldn't come to an agreement on the terms of the new CBA, which forced a lockout that threatened the 2011 NFL season.
In an email to Washington Football Team president Bruce Allen, Gruden called the NFLPA's executive director, DeMaurice Smith, "Dumborris Smith," and said that "he had lips the size of michellin tires."
At the time, Gruden worked for ESPN as an analyst on Monday Night Football, seven years before he got back into coaching with the Raiders. The Raiders received an email regarding the incident and Gruden addressed the players on Friday about the issue. The coach later told ESPN:
"That might not have been the best time of my life. I vented a lot. I never felt we were getting the truth and honesty. I'm ashamed I insulted De Smith," Gruden said, adding, "I never had a racial thought when I used it. I'm embarrassed by what's out there. I certainly never meant for it to sound that bad."
Will Gruden get punished for the alleged racist email?
There's no word on whether Gruden will face discipline from the NFL. The league is reportedly reviewing the matter. The Raiders released a statement saying that the content of the email "is disturbing and not what the Raiders stand for." The organization also said it is addressing the matter with Gruden and will have no further comment.
The incident came to light following an investigation of more than 650,000 of the Washington Football Team's emails, which were recently investigated by the league following reports of workplace misconduct in Washington.
DeMaurice Smith, who is under pressure to keep his job as the executive director of the NFLPA, released a statement regarding 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. 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. I'm sorry my family has to see something like this but I would rather they know. I will not let it define me."
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