Jon Gruden emails: DeMaurice Smith wonders whether racial bias is included in messages


DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFL Players Association, is curious about what else is in the treasure trove of emails that were gathered as part of the league’s investigation into the Washington Football Team.

Smith said Wednesday during an appearance on ESPN’s “The Right Time with Bomani Jones” podcast he wonders whether there could be evidence that hiring decisions were made based on a candidate’s skin color.

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In this photo, NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith speaks at the annual state of the union news conference in Miami Beach, Florida. 

In this photo, NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith speaks at the annual state of the union news conference in Miami Beach, Florida. 
(AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)

“What I’m interested in — is there correspondence that suggests teams are making decisions about coaches based on the color of their skin? Are they actively hostile to players that have chosen to self-identify in various ways? Are they denigrating of people based on sexual preference or religious identity?” he said.

Smith’s comments came after Jon Gruden resigned as Las Vegas Raiders coach following more leaks of his correspondence with former Washington president Bruce Allen and other high-profile individuals. An email Gruden sent to Allen using a racist trope to describe Smith was revealed Friday.

Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden (left) and special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia watch from the sidelines against the Green Bay Packers in the second half at Investors Group Field, Aug. 22, 2019, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The Raiders defeated the Packers, 22-21.

Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden (left) and special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia watch from the sidelines against the Green Bay Packers in the second half at Investors Group Field, Aug. 22, 2019, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The Raiders defeated the Packers, 22-21.
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

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Smith said on the podcast he hopes the league and the players union’s words will match their actions when it came to its social justice efforts.

“It would be good for our game and for our business — for both the league and the union — to decide that we are going to turn a corner. And we’ve talked about diversity, we’ve talked about inclusiveness, for years. How do we turn the corner and actually match out actions to our words? And when will we start to hold people accountable for living up to a standard that we believe is the acceptable standard for just human interaction?” Smith said.

Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden talks with quarterback Derek Carr (4) during the second half against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.

Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden talks with quarterback Derek Carr (4) during the second half against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.
(Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports)

Gruden resigned Monday night after more homophobic and misogynistic emails were released in The New York Times. Smith told USA Today the union plans to file a petition to get the rest of the 650,000 emails involved in the probe released.

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“We have had communications with the league, and the NFLPA plans to request that the NFL release the rest of the emails,” Smith said.

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