Photo Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith was pushed into the news cycle last week when The Wall Street Journal reported that an email sent from Jon Gruden, working for ESPN at the time, to Washington Football Team president and general manager Bruce Allen contained racist remarks.

Gruden’s comments about Smith, particularly his mocking of a physical feature, were widely condemned with many calling for the then-Las Vegas Raiders head coach to be fired. Gruden has since resigned in the wake of further homophobic and misogynistic remarks in more emails from 2011 revealed by The New York Times.

Smith has requested that the NFL release all of the 650,000 emails that are part of an investigation into the Washington Football Team and sexual misconduct toward female employees including the organization’s cheerleading squad. Who else could be incriminated by those emails? Did any other league officials make remarks that would indicate attitudes and prejudices that affected hiring practices? Do others besides Gruden need to be scrutinized and perhaps resign?

But how did Smith feel about Gruden’s email and remarks about him in particular? He appeared on The Right Time with Bomani Jones Wednesday to discuss the emails being released and reported by media outlets.

“Really, Bomani, my only frame was ‘Wow, they seem to be really comfortable talking about this on email,” Smith told Jones. “That was really kind of my takeaway. I mean, I hear on the sort of old-time trope frame of this. It’s a gross caricature that you and I would’ve expected from the 50s, maybe, or the 60s.”

Gruden did publicly apologize to Smith for the remarks and insisted he’s not a racist. Raiders running back Josh Jacobs also said that the coach addressed the team after the report was published. During his conversation with Jones, Smith revealed that Gruden reached out to him personally, though the two did not actually talk. Via text, Smith said they could speak to each other later on, knowing he had a game to coach on Sunday.

Of course, Week 5’s 20-9 loss to the Chicago Bears was Gruden’s last game as head coach of the Raiders. He resigned shortly after the New York Times report was published online.

Jones’s entire interview with Smith is worth listening to. The two also discuss Smith’s request for the NFL to release all of the emails associated with the investigation and whether or not the players association has any legal recourse in the matter. Though the Washington Football Team, and perhaps the NFL, hope public conversation on the matter might end with Gruden’s resignation, this is surely not the last we’ll hear on it.

About Ian Casselberry

Ian is a writer, editor, and podcaster. You can find his work at Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He's written for Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation.