Raiders’ head coach Jon Gruden has apologized after he reportedly used a racist trope in an email in 2011 about the executive director of the NFL Players Association, DeMaurice Smith.
A report Friday from the Wall Street Journal stated that Gruden, at the time, sent an email to the then President of the Washington Football Team, Bruce Allen, as the NFL was in the midst of a lockout. The email reportedly read, “Dumboriss Smith has lips the size of michellin tires,” the Journal noted. (RELATED: David Hookstead Is The True King In The North When It Comes To College Football)
NEW: At the crescendo of the 2011 NFL lockout, Jon Gruden sent an email that used a racist trope to describe NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith. “Dumboriss Smith has lips the size of michellin tires.” https://t.co/MQn55oEMZE
— Andrew Beaton (@andrewlbeaton) October 8, 2021
The coach said in the past he’s used the term “rubber lips” to “refer to a guy” that he catches “as lying … he can’t spit it out.”
“I’m ashamed I insulted De Smith,” he added. “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.”
“I was upset,” Gruden told the Journal. “I used a horrible way of explaining it.”
“I don’t think he’s dumb,” he added. “I don’t think he’s a liar. I don’t have a racial bone in my body, and I’ve proven that for 58 years.”
The Raiders’ coach said he’s spoken with the team’s owner Mark Davis. He’s currently waiting to hear if any actions will be taken against him. Davis told the outlet the contents of the email are “disturbing” and “not what the Raiders stand for.”
“We were first made aware of the email late yesterday by a reporter and are reviewing it along with other materials provided to us today by the NFL,” he added. “We are addressing the matter with Coach Gruden and will have no further comment at this time.”
On Friday, the league condemned the comments too.
“The email from Jon Gruden denigrating DeMaurice Smith is appalling, abhorrent and wholly contrary to the NFL’s values,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said. “We condemn the statement and regret any harm that its publication may inflict on Mr. Smith or anyone else.”
Gruden coached the Raiders’ previously from 1998 till after the 2001 season when he went to the lead Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He stayed with the team through the 2008 season until he was fired. He then headed to the booth for “Monday Night Football” games.
In 2018, he came back to the Raiders and this season the team sits at a 3-1 record.