NFL players’ union boss questions league’s hiring practices after Gruden emails surface


NFL players’ union chief DeMaurice Smith wants to see more internal team emails to uncover the pervasiveness of racism around the league after Jon Gruden was caught using a racist trope to describe Smith in a 2011 email that surfaced last week.

During a podcast interview with ESPN’s Bomani Jones, the NFL Players Association executive director said he’s interested in learning how league teams may use race or sexual identity to discriminate.

‘Is there correspondence that suggests teams are making decisions about coaches based on the color of their skin?’ Smith asked. ‘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?’

Specifically, Smith wants to see the 650,000 emails that were included in the NFL’s investigation into hostile workplace claims against the Washington Football Team.

Gruden resigned as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday after emails he sent to then-Washington Football Team executive Bruce Allen between 2011 and 2018 surfaced showing him using racist, misogynistic and homophobic language to criticize league figures.

In the emails that were leaked to The New York Times this week, Gruden used several anti-gay slurs, such as ‘f******’ and ‘queers,’ in addition to other racist and misogynistic terminology. In another email that was leaked to The Wall Street Journal last week, Gruden told Allen in 2011 that Smith, who is African American, had ‘lips the size of Michelin tires.’

NFL players' union chief DeMaurice Smith wants to see more internal team emails to uncover the pervasiveness of racism around the league after Jon Gruden was caught using a racist trope to describe Smith in a 2011 email that surfaced last week

NFL players’ union chief DeMaurice Smith wants to see more internal team emails to uncover the pervasiveness of racism around the league after Jon Gruden was caught using a racist trope to describe Smith in a 2011 email that surfaced last week

Jon Gruden resigned as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday after emails he sent to then-Washington Football Team executive Bruce Allen between 2011 and 2018 surfaced showing him using racist, misogynistic and homophobic language to criticize league figures

Jon Gruden resigned as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday after emails he sent to then-Washington Football Team executive Bruce Allen between 2011 and 2018 surfaced showing him using racist, misogynistic and homophobic language to criticize league figures

In an emailed response to DailyMail.com, an NFL spokesman flatly denied the accusation that the league is covering for WFT owner Dan Snyder (left). In this file photo, Snyder is pictured alongside former WFT executive Bruce Allen (right), who was the recipient of Gruden's emails

In an emailed response to DailyMail.com, an NFL spokesman flatly denied the accusation that the league is covering for WFT owner Dan Snyder (left). In this file photo, Snyder is pictured alongside former WFT executive Bruce Allen (right), who was the recipient of Gruden’s emails

The WFT, which is valued in the billions, was fined $10 million by the NFL and owner Dan Snyder stepped away from day-to-day operations for a period of months, but there was no written report of lawyer Beth Wilkinson’s inquiry.

Since the Gruden emails surfaced, there have been other calls to reveal the findings of the league inquiry, including any emails that may have been sent by Snyder or his top lieutenants.

Lisa Banks, an attorney for the 40 former WFT employees involved in the investigation, agreed with a CNN interviewer on Wednesday that Gruden has been a ‘fall guy’ for the league. She went

While agreeing with a CNN interview that Gruden has been a ‘fall guy’ for the league, Lisa Banks, an attorney for the 40 former WFT employees involved in the investigation demanded the league release its full report.

‘Obviously what [Gruden] did and what he wrote was terrible, and he probably deserves to lose his job, but it’s telling that the coach of the Las Vegas Raiders is the only one to lose their job after a 10-month investigation into the Washington Football Team and its culture,’ Banks told CNN.

The NFL is facing increased demands from the NFL players' union and attorneys representing former Washington Football Team employees to release the findings of its 10-month investigation into sexual harassment and hostile workplace allegations against club. The league has, thus far, refused to release any material from its investigation, citing confidentiality concerns. Leaked emails from the probe resulted in Jon Gruden stepping down as Las Vegas Raiders head coach on Monday. Gruden, who was an ESPN television analyst when the emails were sent between 2011 and 2018, wrote racist, misogynistic and homophobic insults about league figures in the messages to then-WFT executive Bruce Allen. Lisa Banks (right), an attorney for the 40 former WFT employees involved in the investigation, agreed with a CNN interviewer on Wednesday that Gruden has been a 'fall guy' for the league

The NFL is facing increased demands from the NFL players’ union and attorneys representing former Washington Football Team employees to release the findings of its 10-month investigation into sexual harassment and hostile workplace allegations against club. The league has, thus far, refused to release any material from its investigation, citing confidentiality concerns. Leaked emails from the probe resulted in Jon Gruden stepping down as Las Vegas Raiders head coach on Monday. Gruden, who was an ESPN television analyst when the emails were sent between 2011 and 2018, wrote racist, misogynistic and homophobic insults about league figures in the messages to then-WFT executive Bruce Allen. Lisa Banks (right), an attorney for the 40 former WFT employees involved in the investigation, agreed with a CNN interviewer on Wednesday that Gruden has been a ‘fall guy’ for the league

After nearly a year of demanding the NFL to release its report, Banks said she believes that damning information about the WFT has yet to be revealed.

‘Based on my knowledge and based on my 40 clients and what they provided to the investigators, I know that there’s a lot of damning information about the Washington Football Team and about its owner,’ she said. ‘And I’m sure that there was going to be embarrassing information in that report and for whatever reason, the league decided that it was going to protect the owner and ignore the women.’

In an emailed response to DailyMail.com, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy flatly denied the accusation that the league is covering for Snyder: ‘We are not.’

Banks sees the NFLPA’s involvement as a part of a growing push for the release of the investigation report. She also expects corporate sponsors to step forward as they did last year, when Native American groups successfully pushed for the WFT to drop its nickname, the Redskins, because it is offensive to many indigenous people.

‘I think there’s building momentum here,’ Banks told CNN. ‘There has been a lot of pressure on the league to release the findings along the way. And not just from me and my clients, but from a number of their organizations and policy groups, and now the NFLPA.

‘I expect that sooner rather than later, we’re going to hear from corporate America too. We have a lot of large sponsors that support the NFL who cannot be in favor of sweeping these types of allegations and this investigation under the rug.’

The Times reported that Gruden used a gay slur to insult Goodell and said he was 'clueless' and 'anti-football.' He also said Goodell shouldn't have pressured Rams coach Jeff Fisher to draft 'queers,' a reference to Michael Sam (pictured), who was the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team

Former St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher

The Times reported that Gruden used a gay slur to insult Goodell and said he was ‘clueless’ and ‘anti-football.’ He also said Goodell shouldn’t have pressured Rams coach Jeff Fisher (right) to draft ‘queers,’ a reference to Michael Sam (left), who was the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team

Redacted versions of some of Gruden's emails were also filed in federal court last June as part of Snyder's efforts to compel Allen to produce discovery in a separate lawsuit filed in India. One of the emails included in the court filing and reviewed by DailyMail.com appears to the one referenced by the Times

Redacted versions of some of Gruden’s emails were also filed in federal court last June as part of Snyder’s efforts to compel Allen to produce discovery in a separate lawsuit filed in India. One of the emails included in the court filing and reviewed by DailyMail.com appears to the one referenced by the Times

Gruden stepped down after The New York Times reported that Gruden frequently used misogynistic and homophobic language directed at commissioner Roger Goodell (pictured) and others in the NFL

Gruden stepped down after The New York Times reported that Gruden frequently used misogynistic and homophobic language directed at commissioner Roger Goodell (pictured) and others in the NFL

The NFL is not planning to make public any of the hundreds of thousands of emails it obtained as part of an investigation of the Washington Football Team, some of which led to the resignation of Gruden.

‘Based on the material that we have reviewed, we haven’t identified anything that needed to be reported to club or league leadership,’ McCarthy told The Associated Press on Tuesday. ‘We have released no emails during this process.’

As first reported by the Times, Gruden wrote Allen in 2015 to complain that another gay player, Michael Sam, was drafted by the St. Louis Rams. In the email, Gruden claims that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell pressured then-Rams coach Jeff Fisher to draft ‘queers.’

Fisher, who was fired by the Rams in 2016, has denied facing any pressure to draft Sam, who ultimately did not make the team out of training camp and settled for a practice squad role

Fisher, who was fired by the Rams in 2016, has denied facing any pressure to draft Sam, who ultimately did not make the team out of training camp and settled for a practice squad role

Redacted versions of some of Gruden’s emails were also filed in federal court last June as part of Snyder’s efforts to compel Allen to produce discovery in a separate lawsuit filed in India. One of the emails included in the court filing and reviewed by DailyMail.com appears to the one referenced by the Times.

‘I agree,’ wrote an ‘ESPN Personality’ whose name was redacted in the court filing. ‘[Redacted] shouldn’t call [redacted] and tell him to draft queers either.’

Fisher, who was fired by the Rams in 2016, has denied facing any pressure to draft Sam, who ultimately did not make the team out of training camp and settled for a practice squad role.

‘Michael Sam was the SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2013, and we selected him in the 2014 NFL Draft based upon his defensive production and pass rushing skill set on the field,’ Fisher wrote in his statement, referring to Sam’s tenure at Missouri.

‘As a head coach for over 20 years, we drafted or didn’t draft, players based on a variety of qualities,’ Fisher continued. ‘Their sexual orientation would never — and should never — play a part in the decision-making process. I continue to support Michael, and his decision to come out as the first draft-eligible openly gay player in the league. It took courage to serve as a role model for those competitive football players who may also happen to be gay.’

Sam, a star defensive end at Missouri, has not commented on Gruden’s emails publicly.





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