The executive director of the NFL Players Association, DeMaurice Smith, says that one of the main reasons for his request that the NFL release the emails of his investigation into the Washington football team is that he wants to determine whether race has been a factor in hiring decisions in the league and whether teams have been “actively hostile to players who have chosen to identify themselves in various ways.”
Smith discussed a variety of topics, including the NFL investigation into workplace misconduct with the Washington football team and the reported emails that led to Jon Gruden’s resignation from the Las Vegas Raiders, such as part of an interview Wednesday with ESPN’s Bomani Jones.
Smith’s comments came a day after the NFLPA said it would formally ask the NFL to release the rest of the 650,000 emails collected by the league as part of its investigation. Several leaked emails from that investigation showed Gruden using racist, misogynistic and anti-gay language.
“What interests me, is there correspondence to suggest that teams are making decisions about coaches based on the color of their skin?” Smith said in ESPN Podcast “The Right Time with Bomani Jones”. “Are they actively hostile to players who have chosen to identify themselves in various ways? Are they denigrating people based on their sexual preference or religious identity?”
One of Gruden’s emails included a racist comment about Smith, who is black.
Before Gruden stepped down Monday as the Raiders head coach, Smith tweeted that the email and some of the reaction to it “confirms that the fight against racism, racist tropes and bigotry is not over. from both an email and an email. ” about the widespread belief of some that people who look like me can be treated as less. “
Smith echoed those sentiments during his Wednesday interview with Jones and said Gruden reached out to him last Saturday, a day after the Wall Street Journal report on Gruden’s racist comment in a 2011 email. Smith told him about it. He told Jones that he responded by text message and that he expected to speak with Gruden later this week, acknowledging however that their weekend exchange occurred before Gruden’s resignation.
Smith also emphasized Wednesday that he hopes the NFL and the players’ union will “match our actions with our words” regarding diversity and inclusion.
“It would be good for our game and for our business, both for the league and for the union, to decide that we are going to turn the corner,” he said. “And we’ve talked about diversity, we’ve talked about inclusion, for years. How do we turn the corner and match actions with our words? And when will we start holding people accountable for meeting a standard that we think is? the acceptable standard for human interaction? “
Gruden’s resignation came shortly after The New York Times reported that he used misogynistic and anti-gay language in numerous emails to Bruce Allen, then president of the Washington Football Team, and others over a seven-year period that ended in 2018. That report came days after Gruden’s 10-year-old emails surfaced that included the racist comment about Smith, as well as a vulgar criticism of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
Gruden was hired by ESPN as the principal analyst for Monday Night Football at the time he sent the emails.