Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden is under fire for an alleged racist trope he used in a 2011 email while he was at ESPN to insult NFL executive DeMaurice Smith, who is Black:
Jon Gruden, head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, used a racist trope when describing the top NFL players’ executive in a 2011 email https://t.co/FYHLHqrOsY
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) October 8, 2021
Gruden wrote in the email that was in response to the ongoing NFL lockout, “Dumboris Smith has lips the size of michellin tires”:
NEW: At the crescendo of the 2011 NFL lockout, Jon Gruden sent an email that used a racist trope to describe NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith. “Dumboriss Smith has lips the size of michellin tires.” https://t.co/MQn55oEMZE
— Andrew Beaton (@andrewlbeaton) October 8, 2021
The NFL called the email, “appalling, abhorrent and wholly contrary to the NFL’s values”:
NFL statement: “The email from Jon Gruden denigrating DeMaurice Smith is appalling, abhorrent and wholly contrary to the NFL’s values. We condemn the statement and regret any harm that its publication may inflict on Mr. Smith or anyone else.” https://t.co/b9IUku9saH
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 8, 2021
And the Raiders are investigating the matter:
— Chris Maathuis (@sports8) October 8, 2021
But was what Gruden said actually racist?
Gruden told The Athletic’s Vic Tafur that “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 Michellin lips. I never had a blade of racism in me. I was just pissed and used a terrible way to insult a guy”:
Jon Gruden discussed the article with his players this morning. Here are his comments to me on the offensive email: pic.twitter.com/7gkNd5Rzzs
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) October 8, 2021
Maybe Gruden’s critics can find another example of him being a racist before they cancel him over this one email, ‘eh?