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