The National Football League condemned the racist slur directed at NFL Players Association (NFLPA) chief DeMaurice Smith by Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden describing the email as “abhorrent”.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that Gruden in a 2011 email used a racist trope to describe Smith.
The Super Bowl-winning coach, who at the time was working as a television pundit, told the Wall Street Journal he could not specifically recall writing the email but apologized for using the language.
“The email from Jon Gruden denigrating DeMaurice Smith is appalling, abhorrent, and wholly contrary to the NFL’s values,” said the NFL in a statement. “We condemn the statement and regret any harm that its publication may inflict on Mr. Smith or anyone else.”
The NFL would not say if it would look into the Gruden matter, only that it was part of another ongoing investigation and would pass relevant material onto the Raiders.
The email came to the NFL’s attention during the course of the review of workplace misconduct at the Washington Football Team that was completed this summer.
The league was informed of the existence of emails that raised issues beyond the scope of that investigation.
“Over the past few months, senior NFL executives reviewed the content of more than 650,000 emails, including this email which was sent to a club employee,” the NFL said in a statement sent to Reuters.
“Earlier this week, the executives presented a summary of that review to the Commissioner and are sharing with Raiders executives emails pertaining to coach Gruden.”
The NFLPA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.