The NFL reacted strongly and quickly to a report that Jon Gruden used a racist comment about NFL Players Association leader DeMaurice Smith in an email 10 years ago.
A Wall Street Journal story noted that Gruden, then working for ESPN and now coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, racistly referred to Smith’s facial features.
“The email from Jon Gruden, who degraded DeMaurice Smith, is horrible, disgusting, and completely at odds with NFL values,” said NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy. “We condemn the statement and apologize for any damage its publication may cause to Smith or anyone else.”
The league is investigating the matter, and a person familiar with this probe told The Associated Press that disciplinary action is possible for Gruden. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details of a league probe are not made public.
Gruden’s comment in an email to then-Washington Football Teams president Bruce Allen came during the 2011 lockout of NFL players. Gruden told the newspaper he was angry about the lockout during labor negotiations and he did not trust the direction the union was taking. He also apologized for the remark, the Journal reported.
During a review of e-mails regarding work misconduct on the Washington Football Team, which was completed over the summer, “the league was informed of the existence of e-mails that raised questions beyond the scope of this investigation,” McCarthy added.
“Over the past few months, following the commissioner’s instructions,” he added of Roger Goodell, “NFL executives searched the contents of more than 650,000 e-mails, including this e-mail sent to a club employee. Earlier this week. The directors presented a summary of this review to the commissioner and shared emails with Raiders executives regarding coach Gruden. ”
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