Former Buccaneers Super Bowl-winning head coach Jon Gruden is in the news, but this time it’s for nothing good. Gruden is in the news for a reference pertaining to NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith in an email spanning from a decade ago.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Gruden sent an email to the President of the now Washington Football Team in July of 2011, in which he referred to Smith as having the “lips the size of michelin tires.”
Evidently, Gruden would refer to people he caught lying as “rubber lips” he told ESPN, and it never occurred to him it could be seen as any kind of racist term. He also told ESPN that this situation is embarrassing and never meant for it to sound that bad.
It is uncertain as to whether or not Gruden will face any kind of disciplinary action from the NFL; however, the NFL did publicly criticize the comment.
“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.”
The statement made by Jon Gruden in the email could be taken in either light and is more than likely without racist intent. However, the context in which you take the statement is up to you as the individual. But the fact remains; being playful or not, words can hurt as much as sticks and stones.