Report: Raiders HC Jon Gruden Under Fire For Racially Insensitive Email, Faces Discipline

A Wall Street Journal report broke on Friday chronicling a potentially insensitive racial remark made by Raiders head coach Jon Gruden regarding NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith.

According to the report, Gruden sent out an email to then-Washington Redskins general manager Bruce Allen, mocking Smith in the midst of an impending league lockout imposed by the owners.

Gruden allegedly sent out an email containing the following message: “Dumboriss Smith has lips the size of michellin tires,” which has spawned outrage due to its underlying criticism of Smith’s appearance as a Black man. The email was traced to 2011 when Gruden was working as a sportscaster for the Monday Night Football booth on ESPN.

In the report, Gruden admitted to not recalling if he had sent out the email but apologized for any potential damages made to Smith. He added that calling people “rubber lips” was his way of mocking someone, devoid of any racial undertones or intentionality.

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

Smith responded by seemingly calling Gruden a racist, alleging that Gruden’s message was directed at him for being a Black man in a White man’s position.

Gruden signed a 10-year, $100 million deal in 2018 to become the Raiders’ head coach after his first stint between 1998-2001. He went on to coach the Tampa Bay Buccaneers between 2002-08, winning Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2003.

His long-time status as a “players’ coach” has never been criticized for bearing underlying racist views, but his role will now be subject to potentially serious discipline as the League ensured that it will punish the head coach.

ESPN NFL reporter Adam Schefter tweeted out the NFL’s official response to Gruden’s email, calling the statement “appalling, abhorrent and wholly contrary to the NFL’s values.” The statement condemned Gruden and apologized to Smith for the insensitive remark.

Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela

Written by Alejandro Avila


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  1. Don’t mess with the Alphabet people.

    Why is Outkick reporting a 10 year old email? Are you guys turning into the 2nd generation of The Athletic? If so, very disappointing. Not suprised now that Paul Ryan can influence the editorial direction.

  2. So if he said the same thing about a White or Hispanic person would this even be an issue? My goodness some people just love to be a victim! And it seems based on the response of the League he is being thrown under a bus for what is nothing more than joke at best and an insult at worst. It’s as if you insult any physical feature of a Black person that makes you racist. But if you do the same to a White or Hispanic person then it’s a non issue. I hate that we have ended up like this in this country.

  3. “I don’t think he’s dumb”

    If you’re calling him “Dumboriss” Smith, you probably do think he’s dumb.

    Regardless, the tires comment is not enough evidence of racism for the media to be dragging this up ten years later.

  4. Is it racist to say someone has huge lips? What about Lisa Renna? White woman with big, fake lips. People make fun of her. And Smith probably is dumb. That’s racist? Fuck these virtue signalers. Goodell and the NFL leadership are a bunch of clowns.

  5. I, for one, am appalled at the insensitivity of some people.

    For example, something like “Stacy Abrams so fat that when she wears her Malcolm X jacket helicopters keep tryna land on her” would be a horrible mean thing to email someone.

  6. Absolute clown show we’re seeing from the NFL. If anyone’s familiar with Seinfeld, then you’ll appreciate the Jackie Child’s stylized quote heard straight from the NFL:

    “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.”

    This likely won’t get better. Randy Moss, DeMaurice Smith and Goodell are pussies of the highest order. Gruden wasn’t wrong.

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