REPORT: NFL Considering Discipline for Jon Gruden After Racial Trope in Email About DeMaurice Smith

While conducting its investigation into workplace misconduct happening within the Washington Football Team’s organization that wrapped up this past summer, the NFL unearthed issues happening elsewhere in the league.

And Las Vegas Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden is in the middle of a mess:

Gruden’s explanation (via WSJ’s story):

Gruden said he had been angry at the time because of the lockout and didn’t trust the direction the players, led by Smith, were going in the negotiations. He said he has in the past referred to people he believes to be lying as “rubber lips” and that he took it “too far.”

“I was upset,” Gruden said. “I used a horrible way of explaining it.”

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

Despite the apology to NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, what Gruden said in the first place is problematic. We’re talking about one of the highest profile coaches in the NFL and the director of the NFL Players Association. It’s a big deal.

And indeed, the story continues, including a report that “the NFL is discussing Gruden’s status with the club.”

 

The fact this is surfacing as part of an entirely different investigation (one unrelated to Gruden in the first place) isn’t great. So one way or another, there WILL be some fallout. Again, especially since the NFL is reportedly already discussing Gruden’s status with the franchise. It seems the league could look to discipline Gruden, who spent a chunk of last year in the league’s crosshairs for COVID-19 protocol violations.

In the end, we’re sharing a story featuring one of the league’s highest-profile head coaches, the NFLPA’s Executive Director, a racist trope, and a smaller piece in what is a bigger story about problematic NFL culture. That is too much to ignore, especially with the Raiders being the Bears’ opponent this week. This likely isn’t getting swept under a rug any time soon.

written by

Luis C. Medina, who you can find on Twitter at lcm1986, has been covering the Chicago Bears at Bleacher Nation since 2017. Since then, he has written about 3 head coaches, 5 play-callers, and 11 starting quarterbacks. Previously, Luis wrote about the Cubs and MLB at BN (2015-16) and worked in the Chicago Tribune sports department (2011-16). He also co-hosted a Cubs postgame show, Outside the Ivy, in 2019.

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