Fritz Pollard Alliance replies to Jon Gruden’s comment

Fritz Pollard Alliance leader, a watchdog group that advocates diversity in the NFL, said Jon Gruden's 2011 comment about DeMaurice Smith, the player's union leader, is indicative of racism at all levels of professional sports.

Fritz Pollard Alliance replies to Jon Gruden’s comment

Rod Graves (the Alliance's executive Director) also suggested that he would seek discipline for Gruden.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Gruden, who was then employed by ESPN and is now coach of the Las Vegas Raiders', made racial remarks about Smith's facial features in an e-mail.

Graves, who is the Alliance's executive Director, stated in a statement that Jon Gruden's insensitive comments about DeMaurice Smith were indicative of racism at many levels of professional sport. It also reveals the inexplicable mindsets at the top of the sports world for African Americans and other minorities.

"We hope the league and team owners will find a solution to this problem that is at least as painful as these words. This is another turning point in a society that has become savagely socially blind and lacks respect for minorities' intellectual ability and leadership. It is time for it to end.

The league is investigating the matter. A person familiar with the probe said that Gruden could be subject to disciplinary action. Because details of any league probe are confidential, the person spoke under anonymity.

Gruden coached Sunday's Raiders game against the Chicago Bears at Las Vegas. He received little reaction from Raiders fans. The Raiders started the season with a 3-1 record, which was their best start since Gruden's return to the team in 2018.

The Alliance supports inclusion and advancement of minorities in pro-football, from coaches to front office positions and league executives.

Gruden made the comment to Bruce Allen, then-President of the Washington Football Team, in an email during the 2011 lockout by the NFL. Gruden stated to the newspaper that he was upset about the lockout during labor negotiations, and that he did not trust the direction of the union. The Journal reported that Gruden also apologized for his remarks.

Gruden stated in an email that Gruden reviewed for the newspaper, "DumborissSmith has lips the size michellin tires."

Mark Davis, Raiders owner, stated Friday that Gruden's email did not conform to the team's standards.

Davis stated that the email containing information about DeMaurice Smith sent by Jon Gruden 10 years ago to ESPN was disturbing. This is not what the Raiders stand up for. "We were made aware of the email late last night by a reporter. We are currently reviewing it and other materials from the NFL. We are currently addressing the issue with Coach Gruden.

Brian McCarthy, an NFL spokesperson, stated Friday that during a review of emails concerning workplace misconduct at Washington Football Team, "the league received information about the existence of emails which raised issues beyond that scope of that investigation." He said that Jon Gruden's email degrading DeMaurice Smith was "appalling, abhorrent, and wholly against the NFL values." We regret the publication of this statement and condemn any harm it may cause to Mr. Smith or others.

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