Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden used a racist slur in a 2011 email to describe NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
In the midst of the 2011 lockout between the NFL and the NFLPA, Gruden sent an email to then-Washington President Bruce Allen, in which he wrote: “Dumboriss Smith has lips the size of michellin tires,” referring to Smith, who he’s black, The Journal reported.
Gruden told the newspaper that he was angry about the lockout during labor negotiations and that he did not trust the direction the union was taking. He also apologized for the comment, The Journal reported.
“He was upset,” Gruden said. “I used a horrible way to explain it.”
“I don’t think I’m stupid. I don’t think I’m a liar,” Gruden told to The Journal. “I don’t have a racist bone in my body, and I’ve proven it for 58 years.”
Jon Gruden, the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, in 2011 used racist terms to denounce DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFL Players Association, who is Black and is now facing opposition within the union to the extension of his contract.https://t.co/5KQM5yvX2Q— The New York Times (@nytimes) October 9, 2021
Smith issued the following statement to The Journal:
“This is not the first racist comment that I’ve heard and it probably will not be the last. 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,” Smith said. “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.”
“You know that people sometimes say things behind your back that are racist, just like you see people talking and writing about you using racist and coded 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,” Smith said. “I’m sorry my family has to see something like this but I would rather they know. I will not let it define me.”
Raiders owner Mark Davis said in a statement Friday that Gruden’s comments do not reflect his organization’s beliefs.
“The content of an email about DeMaurice Smith from Jon Gruden 10 years ago is disturbing and is not what the Raiders stand for. A journalist first reported the email to us late yesterday and we are reviewing it with others. materials provided today by the NFL. We are discussing the matter with Coach Gruden and will have no further comment at this time. “