Jon Gruden Under Fire for Leaked Email Containing ‘Racist’ Language

jon gruden

Getty Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden.

The Las Vegas Raiders are off to a solid 3-1 start to the 2021 season but have been hit with a major distraction. Head coach Jon Gruden has never been one to hold back his opinion, whether he’s coaching or being an analyst. He’s done a good job of steering away from controversy over his career, but that’s changed.

During Gruden’s time away from the NFL in 2011, he sent an email to former Washington Football Team President Bruce Allen regarding the executive director of the NFL Players Association DeMaurice Smith.

“Dumboriss Smith has lips the size of michellin tires,” Gruden wrote in the email, per The Wall Street Journal.

The email was prompted over the coach’s anger regarding the lockout in 2011. He claims that he’s referred to liars as “rubber lipped” in the past.

“I was upset,” Gruden told The Wall Street Journal. “I used a horrible way of explaining it.”

“I don’t think he’s dumb. I don’t think he’s a liar,” he said. “I don’t have a racial bone in my body, and I’ve proven that for 58 years.”

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Smith Responds to Gruden Email

GettyDeMaurice Smith.

Smith has been the head of the NFLPA for a decade now. He referred to Gruden’s comments as “racist,” but said he would not let it “define” him, according to a statement he released to the Wall Street 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.”

The statement continued, “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.”

Gruden says that he’s reached out to Smith but has yet to get ahold of him, per Vic Tafur of The Athletic.


NFL Condemns Gruden’s Comments

The NFL and NFLPA have been at odds many times in the past, but they still work together to make the sport what it is. The league was clearly unhappy with Gruden’s choice of language.

“The email from Jon Gruden denigrating DeMaurice Smith is appalling, abhorrent and wholly contrary to the NFL’s values,” the NFL said in a statement released October 8. “We condemn the statement and regret any harm that its publication may inflict on Mr. Smith or anyone else.”

Raiders owner Mark Davis also released a statement, saying Gruden’s comments are “disturbing and not what the Raiders stand for.”

It remains to be seen what will happen to Gruden. He’s one of the biggest named coaches in the sport.

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

READ NEXT: Raiders’ Derek Carr Sends Message to Khalil Mack


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Boris Badenoff
Boris Badenoff
3 months ago

Who cares?

Kelly Slone
Editor
3 months ago
Reply to  Boris Badenoff

At least 220,000 people who read this story, apparently.

Bernie Goulet
Bernie Goulet
3 months ago

Troy Kaneer – weird how an anti-California bigot would be FOR protecting Jon Gruden’s hate speech. Make’s me wonder what else Troy Kaneer is a bigot about…

Steve Hackett
Steve Hackett
3 months ago
Reply to  Bernie Goulet

He’s FOR protecting Speech-
a Constitutional Right.
FYI: It’s you that has a closed mind-which is the definition of a Bigot.

Richard B
Richard B
3 months ago
Reply to  Steve Hackett

your constitutional right to free speech applies to protection from government, not private business such as the NFL. Also, free speech does not mean unlimited free speech. You can’t say anything you want without consequences. You should be smarter.

Troy Kaneer
Troy Kaneer
3 months ago

Everything is not racist. Some things are just obvious. Give Gruden a break. He lives in communist California for pete’s sake.

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