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Raiders' Jon Gruden Confirms He Made Vulgar Insult About Roger Goodell in 2011 Email

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVOctober 10, 2021

AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden confirmed to ESPN's Chris Mortensen that he directed a vulgar insult at NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in emails from 2011 that were provided to the league.

Gruden, whose emails also criticized multiple team owners, told ESPN he "was in a bad frame of mind" regarding the 2011 labor disagreement:

"I was in a bad frame of mind at the time [in 2011] and I called Roger Goodell a (expletive) in one of these emails, too. They were keeping players and coaches from doing what they love with a lockout. There also were a lot of things being reported publicly about the safety of the sport that I love. I was on a mission with high school football (in the Tampa area) during that time and there were a lot of parents who were scared about letting their kids play football. It just didn't sit well with me."

Gruden guessed that the NFL flagged up to seven of the emails he sent at the time, when he was employed by ESPN.

The Raiders coach was already in hot water after Andrew Beaton of the Wall Street Journal reported that one of Gruden's emails contained a racist trope used to describe NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith during correspondence with former Washington Football Team president Bruce Allen.

"Dumboriss Smith has lips the size of Michelin tires," Gruden wrote.

The coach told ESPN's Paul Gutierrez he was "ashamed I insulted De Smith" and "never had a racial thought when I used it." He explained he has used the term "rubber lips" to "refer to a guy I catch as lying...he can't spit it out."

Raiders owner Mark Davis said Gruden's comments about Smith were "disturbing" and went against the Raiders' principles:

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Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported "the Raiders made no immediate suggestion that his job status was in any jeopardy," while the league office is considering "numerous mitigating circumstances."

Among those circumstances is the fact that Gruden was not employed by the league and sent the emails from a personal account. There is also the time frame to consider, since the emails were sent 10 years ago.

According to La Canfora, multiple people close to Goodell believe Gruden will be fined and ordered to undergo diversity and inclusion training instead of being suspended or fired.

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