Raiders Coach Jon Gruden Apologizes For Racist Remark About NFLPA Head


Staff Writer


Oct 08, 2021 5:52 PM


Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden has apologized

after a 2011 email was exposed of the head using a

racial trope to describe the NFL Players Association’s

Executive Director, DeMaurice Smith.


In the email that was sent to the president of the

Washington Football Team (then known as the

Washington Redskins) as the NFL was resolving its

lockout, Gruden used racially insensitive language

while poking fun at Smith’s name and lips.


“Dumboriss Smith has lips the size of michellin tires,”

Gruden wrote in the email.

After the email was exposed by The Wall Street

Journal on Friday, Gruden claimed he didn’t remember

the email but took accountability for his actions.

He apologized for the email and acknowledged that he

likely viewed Smith as the villain during the NFL’s


“I really don’t remember exactly this email — it was a

long time ago,” Gruden wrote in an email. “I certainly

will take accountability for it if it’s on my email. I do

know this, at that point of my life, 11 years ago or 10

years ago, I am sure I vented a little bit with my friends

about certain things. I know at that time the Collective

Bargaining Agreement was changing, there was a

lockout going on or the threat of a lockout, if I can

remember. I probably looked De as the villain. And I

was really upset.”

Gruden also said he felt Smith was lying about the

details of negotiations between the NFL and the NFL

Players Association and claimed he refers to liars as

“rubber lips.” Despite the explanation, he admitted that

comparing Smith’s lips to Michelin tires was too far.


“I didn’t feel like we were getting the truth,” Gruden

added. “I refer to guys when I see them lying — and I can

tell they’re lying — I refer to them as ‘rubber lips.’ I

went too far calling him the Michelin lips. I never had a

blade of racism in me. I was just pissed and used a

terrible way to insult a guy.”


The email was discovered during the NFL’s

investigation of workplace misconduct with the

Washington Football team. Gruden, who was ESPN’s

lead analyst for Monday Night Football when he sent

the email, said he warned his players about the email

Friday morning. According to The Wall Street Journal,

the NFL reviewed 650,000 emails and sent pertinent

emails to the Raiders for review.

Gruden said he has spoken to Raiders owner Mark

Davis but does not know if he’ll face any punishment

from the team or league. He also stated that he reached

out to Smith but has not heard back yet. Smith spoke

with The Wall Street Journal about the email and

admitted it’s not his first time encountering racism.


“This is not the first racist comment that I’ve heard and

it probably will not be the last,” Smith responded. “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



Look above to view Jon Gruden’s apology.

Source: The Wall Street Journal




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