DeMaurice Smith discusses email trove from WFT investigation, questions whether race a factor in hiring decisions around NFL

DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFLPA, wonders when the league will embrace diversity and inclusion. After years of talking about it for years, he is now apprehensive. (1:55).
DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association, stated that one of his primary reasons for requesting that the NFL release emails relating to its investigation into the Washington Football Team is to determine if race has been a factor when making hiring decisions and whether teams have been "actively hostile" to players who self-identify in different ways.

Smith spoke about a variety of topics in an interview with ESPN's Bomani. Jones.

Smith's comments were made one day after the NFLPA stated that it would ask the NFLPA to release all 650,000 emails collected by the league in its investigation. Multiple emails seized from the investigation revealed that Gruden used racist, misogynistic, and anti-gay words.

"What I am interested in -- is there correspondence suggesting that coaches make decisions about their coaches based on their skin color?" Smith spoke on ESPN's podcast "The Right Time with Bomani Jones". "Are they hostile to players who have chosen to identify in different ways?" Are they denying people their sexual preferences or religious identities?

Gruden sent an email that contained a racist comment regarding Smith, who was Black.

Smith tweeted before Gruden's resignation Monday as Raiders' head coaching, that the email and some reaction to it "confirms the fight against racism and racist tropes and intolerance are not over." This isn't about an email, but rather about the pervasive belief that people who look like myself can be treated less.

Smith shared these sentiments with Jones during Wednesday's interview. He said Gruden reached him on Saturday after Wall Street Journal reported about Gruden's racist comment in an email from 2011. Smith stated to Jones that he replied via text message and that he hoped to speak with Gruden this week. However, Smith acknowledged that their weekend exchange took place before Gruden's resignation.

Smith stressed Wednesday that he hoped the NFL and players' association would "match our actions with our words" regarding diversity and inclusion.

He stated, "It would benefit our game and our business -- both for the league and the union -- if we decided that we are going turn a corner." "And we have talked for years about diversity and inclusiveness. How can we make sure that our actions match our words? When will we hold people responsible for living up the standard we consider acceptable for human interaction?

Gruden resigned shortly after The New York Times reported he used anti-gay and misogynistic language in emails to Bruce Allen (then the president of Washington Football Team), during a period of seven years that ended in 2018. This report was made days after Gruden's 10-year-old emails that contained a racist comment about Smith and a vulgar attack on Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner.

Gruden was an ESPN analyst on Monday Night Football when he sent the emails.