Jets Owner Woody Johnson Investigated for Alleged Sexist, Racist Comments

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 22, 2020

New York Jets owner Woody Johnson speaks during a press conference for D'Brickashaw Ferguson on Thursday, April 14, 2016 at the team's practice facility in Florham Park, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Adam Hunger/Associated Press

New York Jets owner Woody Johnson, who also serves as President Donald Trump's ambassador to the United Kingdom, was investigated by the State Department for allegedly making racist and sexist comments.

According to CNN's Jennifer Hansler, Kylie Atwood and Nicole Gaouette, a diplomat with knowledge of the allegations said Johnson "said some pretty sexist, racist" things.

Among the allegations are that he took issue with the celebration of Black History Month and made "cringeworthy" comments that objectified women.

One source told CNN that Johnson "appeared agitated" before a Black History Month event in 2018 and asked if the audience would be "a whole bunch of Black people."

Other sources alleged that he would talk about women in "offensive and diminishing" ways. He allegedly spoke about the way women dressed in the embassy as well.

On one occasion, Johnson is said to have taken issue with an International Women's Day gathering and asked why he had to partake in "a feminist event."

Johnson took to Twitter on Wednesday to deny the allegations:

Ambassador Johnson @USAmbUK

I have followed the ethical rules and requirements of my office at all times. These false claims of insensitive remarks about race and gender are totally inconsistent with my longstanding record and values.

The NFL released the following statement to reporters regarding the allegations against Johnson: "We are aware of the report and would refer you to the State Department."

The Jets later issued a statement as well:

Kim Jones @KimJonesSports

Statement from the #Jets: https://t.co/FK6qo0zhEp

Jets All-Pro safety Jamal Adams also commented on the allegations:

Jamal Adams @Prez

We need the RIGHT people at the top. Wrong is wrong! https://t.co/iMpPfHzRV9

The 73-year-old has been the Jets owner since 2000 and was appointed the United States ambassador to the UK by Trump in 2017.

In the 20 seasons since Johnson purchased the Jets, they have reached the playoffs just six times and won the AFC East on only one occasion. The team has not advanced past the AFC Championship Game during his tenure as owner.

The Jets have missed the playoffs in each of the past nine seasons and are coming off their fourth consecutive losing season after going 7-9 in 2019.

The Trump administration has not publicly commented on the allegations levied against Johnson.

The State Department called him a "valued member of the team" and added: "We stand by Ambassador Johnson and look forward to him continuing to ensure our special relationship with the UK is strong."