Andrew Beaton of the Wall Street Journal delivered a bombshell report Friday when he unveiled that current Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden used a racist trope while describing NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith in a 2011 email sent during that summer’s lockout that threatened the season when Gruden was serving as an ESPN “Monday Night Football” analyst.
Both the Raiders and Gruden have responded to the story.
“Dumboriss [sic] Smith has lips the size of michellin [sic] tires,” Gruden reportedly wrote in the email recovered by the NFL during its investigation of the Washington Football Team. Gruden has claimed to also have used the term “rubber lips” in the past to refer to people as liars but said he doesn’t remember writing the specific email in question.
“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,” Gruden admitted to Vic Tafur and The Athletic staff while taking “accountability” for the email.
“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 at De as the villain. And I was really upset. I was really upset that there was going to be a lockout. I felt that Gene Upshaw would never have allowed that to happen. … I was just p-ssed and used a terrible way to insult a guy.
“I called De, I have reached out to him and I haven’t heard back from him yet, but I will continue to try.”
The Raiders’ statement makes it unclear if Gruden will face any punishment from the club, and it’s unknown if the NFL will look to fine or suspend him.
“The email from Jon Gruden denigrating DeMaurice Smith is appalling, abhorrent and wholly contrary to the NFL’s values,” the league said in a statement shared by outlets Friday afternoon. “We condemn the statement and regret any harm that its publication may inflict on Mr. Smith or anyone else.”