NFL

Raiders coach Gruden used racist language in 2011 email

Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden is in hot water after using racially insensitive language in a 2011 email, according to The Wall Street Journal.

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Raiders coach Gruden used racist language in 2011 email

Gruden, who was an ESPN analyst at the time, reportedly sent the email containing the racist slur against NFL Players Association head DeMaurice Smith in July 2011, when the league and the union were at a labor impasse.

He wrote Bruce Allen, then the president of the squad now known as the Washington Football team, that “Dumboriss Smith has lips the size of michellin [sic] tires,” according to Andrew Beaton of The Wall Street Journal.

NFL investigating reports of workplace misconduct

The NFL has denounced Gruden’s words. “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. “We condemn the statement and regret any harm that its publication may inflict on Mr. Smith or anyone else.”

The Raiders coach has apologized for the email, claiming he did not remember sending it and that he was not racist. “I don’t think he’s dumb. I don’t think he’s a liar,” he told the Journal. “I don’t have a racial bone in my body, and I’ve proven that for 58 years.”

The email surfaced as part of an investigation held recently by the NFL to look into allegations of workplace misconduct in the organization, specifically involving the Washington Football Team.

Smith: Not the first racist comment I've heard

Smith for his part said this incident represents the racism that he deals with in the league. “This is not the first racist comment that I’ve heard and it probably will not be the last,” he said. “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.”

It is not yet clear whether the NFL can sanction Gruden for the action as he was not employed by the league at the time. But according to Beaton, the league is reviewing the incident to see if disciplinary action is needed.

The WSJ reporter adds that Raiders owner Mark Davis has called the report on Gruden's email "disturbing," and that the team is currently looking into the matter.