Raiders’ Jon Gruden reportedly used racist trope in 2011 email

The 3-1 Las Vegas Raiders are preparing to host the 2-2 Chicago Bears in Week 5 but were in headlines on Friday afternoon for a much different reason. 

Andrew Beaton of the Wall Street Journal (h/t Pro Football Talk, ESPN) reports the NFL discovered an email written by current Raiders head coach Jon Gruden in 2011 that included Gruden using racist language directed toward NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith.

“Dumboriss [sic] Smith has lips the size of michellin [sic] tires,” Gruden reportedly wrote. 

Gruden told Wall Street Journal he doesn’t recall writing the email but apologized for its language. 

“I’m really sorry,” Gruden said. “I was upset. I used a horrible way of explaining it. . . . I don’t think he’s dumb. I don’t think he’s a liar. I don’t have a racial bone in my body, and I’ve proven that for 58 years.” 

The report adds Gruden’s alleged emails were sent in the summer of 2011 when the NFL and NFLPA were battling over the lockout that threatened the subsequent season. Gruden did admit to using the term “rubber lips” but said that was in reference to people he believed to be liars. 

That year, he worked for ESPN as a “Monday Night Football” analyst. 

The NFL responded via a 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.” 

Gruden’s role with the Raiders moving forward is understandably in question: 

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