aiders coach Jon Gruden described the head of the NFL players union using racially insensitive language in 2011.
According to a storey by The Wall Street Journal, Jon Gruden, the head coach of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders,
used racially inappropriate language to characterise NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith, who is Black, in an email written in 2011.
At the time, Gruden, who is White, was the main commentator for ESPN’s Monday Night Football.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Gruden said in an email to the president of the Washington Football Team, “Dumboriss Smith has lips the size of Michelin [sic] tyres.”
According to an NFL spokesman, the email was discovered as part of an NFL investigation into workplace misbehaviour at the Washington Football Team this summer.
Gruden told the Journal that he didn’t recall sending the email but said he didn’t deny it.
“I’m really sorry,” Gruden said in an interview with the Journal.
“I was agitated.” “I explained it in a terrible manner.”
According to the Journal, Gruden uses the term “rubber lips” to characterise individuals who he believes are lying.
“I don’t believe he’s a moron.” “I don’t believe he’s a liar,” Gruden said as he returned to the Journal.
“I’ve proved for 58 years that I don’t have a racist bone in my body.”
Gruden could not be reached for comment by CNN.
In a statement to CNN, DeMaurice Smith labelled Gruden’s remark “racist.”V
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“This isn’t the first racist remark I’ve heard, and it won’t be the last,” Smith said. “For someone with a dark complexion, this is a thick skin job,
just as it has always been for many individuals who look like me and work in corporate America.” You’re aware that people say racist things behind your back,
just as you’re aware that others speak and write about you in a thinly veiled and racist manner.
Racism arises from the fact that I’m sitting at the same table as them,
and they don’t believe someone who looks like I belongs.
I’m sad my family has to see this, but I’d prefer they were aware. I’m not going to let that define me.”
In a statement released Friday, Raiders owner Mark Davis called the email’s contents “disturbing.”
“We were initially made aware of the email late yesterday by a reporter and are examining it,
as well as other documents given to us today by the NFL,”
he said in a statement. “We are working with Coach Gruden on the situation and will have no more comment at this time.”
The NFL was quick to criticise Gruden’s remarks as well.
“The email from Jon Gruden disparaging DeMaurice Smith is disgusting,
repugnant, and completely against to the NFL’s principles,” a spokesman for the league told CNN.
“We condemn the comment and apologise for any damage it may cause Mr Smith or anybody else as a result of its publishing.”
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