Report: 'Raiders Made No Immediate Suggestion' to Fire Jon Gruden for Racist Comment

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVOctober 10, 2021

Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden attends a news conference after an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

While the Las Vegas Raiders and the NFL are investigating head coach Jon Gruden's use of a racist trope when discussing NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith in a 2011 email, the team "made no immediate suggestion that his job status was in any jeopardy," according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.

Gruden was a broadcaster for ESPN 10 years ago when he sent the email.

The team is considering "numerous factors," including that the email came from a personal account and the head coach said he was not intentionally using a racist trope.

"Dumboriss Smith has lips the size of Michelin tires," Gruden wrote in an email to former Washington Football Team President Bruce Allen, per Andrew Beaton of the Wall Street Journal.

Gruden told ESPN's Paul Gutierrez he uses the phrase "rubber lips" to "refer to a guy I catch as lying ... he can't spit it out," but he also apologized for the remark.

"I'm ashamed I insulted De Smith," Gruden said. "I never had a racial thought when I used it. ... I'm embarrassed by what's out there. I certainly never meant for it to sound that bad."

Gutierrez also shared a statement from NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy, who said: "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."

Raiders owner Mark Davis released a statement in which he called the email "disturbing and not what the Raiders stand for":

Las Vegas Raiders @Raiders

<a href="https://t.co/nyBuQv1Nbo">pic.twitter.com/nyBuQv1Nbo</a>

La Canfora cited multiple people close to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell who believed Gruden would not be fired or suspended. Instead, the expectation is he will be fined and told to undergo diversity and inclusion training.

The Raiders hired Gruden prior to the 2018 season on a 10-year, $100 million contract. He also coached the franchise from 1998 through 2001.

Las Vegas is 3-1 this season and faces the Chicago Bears on Sunday.