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The National Football League on Friday condemned the racist insult directed at NFL Players Association (NFLPA) chief DeMaurice Smith by Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden, describing the email as ” abhorrent”.

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The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Gruden in a 2011 email used a racist trope to describe Smith.

The Super Bowl-winning coach, who was working as a television expert at the time, told the Wall Street Journal that he did not specifically recall writing the email, but apologized for using the language.

“The email from Jon Gruden denigrating DeMaurice Smith is appalling, abhorrent and totally contrary to the values ​​of the NFL,” the NFL said in a statement. “We condemn the statement and regret any harm its publication may inflict on Mr. Smith or anyone else.”

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The NFL did not say whether it would investigate the Gruden matter, only that it was part of another ongoing investigation and would pass relevant material to the Raiders.

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The email came to the attention of the NFL during the course of the Washington soccer team’s workplace misconduct review that was completed this summer.

The league was informed of the existence of emails that raised issues beyond the scope of that investigation.

“In recent months, senior NFL executives reviewed the content of more than 650,000 emails, including this email that was sent to a club employee,” the NFL said in a statement sent to Reuters.

“Earlier this week, executives presented a summary of that review to the Commissioner and are sharing emails related to Coach Gruden with Raiders executives.”

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The NFLPA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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