*Finding himself in deep doo-doo after a racist e-mail that he sent in 2011 came to light, Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden is in damage control and has issued a response/apology.
Here’s what’s going down. Andrew Beaton of The Wall Street Journal obtained an e-mail that Gruden sent to Bruce Allen – at the time, a high-ranking executive for the then Washington Redskins – in July of 2011. In the correspondence, Gruden refers to NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith as “Dumboriss,” and uses a racial trope when talking about him.
“Dumboriss Smith has lips the size of michellin tires,” Gruden said.
Gruden has offered an apology for his comments.
“I’m really sorry,” the Las Vegas Raiders head coach said in response to the story. “I was upset and I used a horrible way of explaining it. I don’t think he’s dumb and I don’t think he’s a liar.”
Gruden, of course, added that he doesn’t “have a racist bone” in his body. Gruden also says he’s reached out to Smith.
The NFL called Gruden’s email “appalling, abhorrent, and wholly contrary to the NFL’s values.”
“This is not the first racist comment that I’ve heard and it probably will not be the last.” DeMaurice Smith said. “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.”
The NFL issued a statement to ESPN’s Adam Schefter on the matter:
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, now in his second stint as head coach of the Raiders, was working for ESPN at the time of the 2011 lockout. The NFL is reviewing Gruden’s status with the Raiders for potential discipline, a person familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal.
Smith, 57, has been the NFLPA’s executive director since 2009. In 2011, when Gruden sent the email. Smith led the players through contentious labor negotiations with the NFL that resulted in a lockout lasting for more than four months.