Jon Gruden belittled NFL commissioner Roger Goodell with a vulgar description in one of several emails that were among the materials provided by the league to the Las Vegas Raiders this past week, ESPN reports.
This is just days after a Wall Street Journal report broke on Friday chronicling a potentially insensitive racial remark made by Gruden regarding NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, back in 2011 when Gruden was working as a sportscaster for the Monday Night Football booth on ESPN.
Gruden’s emails also included harsh words for a handful of team owners who were involved in the 2011 labor disagreement that led to a lockout, but he did not identify any of the owners he cited in a negative light pertaining to the labor negotiations when speaking to ESPN on Friday.
“I was in a bad frame of mind at the time [in 2011], and I called Roger Goodell a [expletive] in one of these emails too,” the Raiders coach told ESPN on Friday night. “They were keeping players and coaches from doing what they love with a lockout. There also were a lot of things being reported publicly about the safety of the sport that I love. I was on a mission with high school football [in the Tampa, Florida, area] during that time, and there were a lot of parents who were scared about letting their kids play football. It just didn’t sit well with me.”
ESPN reports a league official declined to confirm the number of emails that were turned over to Raiders owner Mark Davis and team executives, but Gruden estimated he was aware of five to seven emails that were flagged by the league.
The league official also would not address the specific language Gruden directed at Goodell when speaking with ESPN. The article states the NFL has said it is exploring disciplinary measures that might be taken against Gruden, although he was not employed by the NFL or any of its teams when the emails were sent.
ESPN reports that the reactions to Gruden’s emailed comments have been wide-ranging both within the Raiders’ locker room and around the league, with some believing there should be repercussions and others believing he should be forgiven.
Rod Graves, the executive director of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, called for the NFL and the Raiders to respond to Gruden’s comments with “a remedy commensurate with these painful words.”
“The insensitive remarks made by Jon Gruden about DeMaurice Smith are indicative of the racism that exists on many levels of professional sports,” Graves said in a statement Sunday morning. “Furthermore, it reveals that the journey for African Americans and other minorities in sports, is riddled with irrepressible mindsets at the highest level. It is our hope that the League and team ownership will address this matter with a remedy commensurate with these painful words. This is yet another inflection point in a society fraught with cynical social blinders, absent of respect for the intellectual capacity and leadership of minorities. When will it end?”