Jon Gruden: NFL condemns ‘abhorrent’ racial slur Las Vegas Raiders head coach used in email | NFL News

The Wall Street Journal reported Gruden in a 2011 email used a racist trope to describe Smith; the Super Bowl-winning coach, who at the time was working as a television pundit, said he could not specifically recall writing the email but apologised for using the language

Last Updated: 09/10/21 8:01am

Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden says he is ashamed for  insulting DeMaurice Smith

Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden says he is ashamed for insulting DeMaurice Smith

The NFL condemned on Friday the racist slur directed at NFL Players Association (NFLPA) chief DeMaurice Smith by Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden describing the email as “abhorrent”.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday Gruden in a 2011 email used a racist trope to describe Smith.

The Super Bowl-winning coach, who at the time was working as a television pundit, told the Wall Street Journal he could not specifically recall writing the email but apologised for using the language.

“The email from Jon Gruden denigrating DeMaurice Smith is appalling, abhorrent and wholly contrary to the NFL’s values,” said the NFL in a statement. “We condemn the statement and regret any harm that its publication may inflict on Mr. Smith or anyone else.”

Smith was voted to remain NFL Players Association executive director on Friday

Smith was voted to remain NFL Players Association executive director on Friday

The NFL would not say if it would look into the Gruden matter, only that it was part of another ongoing investigation and would pass relevant material onto the Raiders.

“I’m ashamed I insulted De Smith,” Gruden told ESPN, adding, “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.”

The email came to the NFL’s attention during the course of the review of workplace misconduct at the Washington Football Team that was completed this summer.

The league was informed of the existence of emails that raised issues beyond the scope of that investigation.

Gruden’s comment in an email to then-Washington Football Team president Bruce Allen came during the 2011 lockout of the players by the NFL. Gruden told the newspaper he was angry about the lockout during labour negotiations and he did not trust the direction the union was taking.

“Over the past few months, senior NFL executives reviewed the content of more than 650,000 emails, including this email which was sent to a club employee,” the NFL said in a statement.

“Earlier this week, the executives presented a summary of that review to the Commissioner and are sharing with Raiders executives emails pertaining to coach Gruden.”

Raiders owner Mark Davis said in a statement Gruden’s email does not reflect the team’s standards.

“The content of an email regarding DeMaurice Smith from Jon Gruden when he worked for ESPN 10 years ago is disturbing and not what the Raiders stand for,” Davis said.

“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. We are addressing the matter with Coach Gruden and will have no further comment at this time.”

Smith will remain the NFL Players Association’s executive director for one more term, which will be his last, after the union’s Board of Player Representatives voted to retain him on Friday.

In response to the reporting of Gruden’s email, Smith told the Wall Street Journal: “This is not the first racist comment that I’ve heard and it probably will not be the last.

“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.”

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