LAS VEGAS (AP) — The leader of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, a watchdog group that champions diversity in the NFL, says Jon Gruden’s 2011 remark about players’ union leader DeMaurice Smith is indicative of the racism at many levels of professional sports.
Rod Graves, the Alliance’s executive director, also hinted at seeking discipline for Gruden.
A Wall Street Journal story noted that Gruden, then working for ESPN and now coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, referred in a racist way to Smith’s facial features in an email.
“The insensitive remarks made by Jon Gruden about DeMaurice Smith are indicative of the racism that exist on many levels of professional sports,” Graves, the Alliance’s executive director, said in a statement. “Furthermore, it reveals that the journey for African Americans and other minorities in sports, is riddled with irrepressible mindsets at the highest level.
“It is our hope that the league and team ownership will address this matter with a remedy commensurate with these painful words. This is yet another inflection point in a society fraught with cynical social blinders, absent of respect for the intellectual capacity and leadership of minorities. When will it end?”
The league is looking into the matter and a person familiar with that probe told The Associated Press that disciplinary action is possible for Gruden. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details of any league probe are not made public.
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