NAACP President Derrick Johnson called Thursday for the release of additional emails from the NFL investigation that prompted the resignation of Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden, saying his newly surfaced comments are evidence of a "cultural problem" within the league.
Gruden resigned as coach of the Raiders on Monday after reports by The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal revealing racist, misogynistic and homophobic comments in emails dating back to 2011.
Johnson, speaking at The Hill's Diversity and Inclusion Summit, said the comments are especially egregious given the league's treatment of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
“If you want to address the culture within the league, it’s not only the person who sent the emails," Johnson told The Hill's Bob CusackRobert (Bob) CusackDeGette calls for 'lean and mean' health research agency to tackle diabetes NAACP president pushes for more emails from NFL after Gruden resignation Al Eisele, founding editor of The Hill, dies at 85 MORE. "What about the people who received it and said nothing? Why are we 10 years later addressing this issue?"
The NFL Players Association is also planning to demand the release of the rest of the emails that led to Gruden's resignation, which were unearthed as part of an investigation into the misogynist and sexualized culture within the Washington Football Team’s front office.
The NFL has not released the findings of that investigation, which led to a $10 million fine against the Washington Football Team, though the league’s special counsel said “The culture of the club was very toxic and fell far short of the NFL’s values.”
The NFL probe scrutinized more than 650,000 emails in total, according to the Journal, and it’s unclear who leaked the emails involving Gruden.
In those emails, Gruden called NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a “f-----” and a “clueless anti football p----" while working as an analyst for ESPN, the Times reported. Many of the emails were sent to Bruce Allen, then an executive of the Washington football franchise.
Gruden also denounced female referees, criticized players who protested during the playing of the national anthem, and received images of topless cheerleaders, the emails revealed.
“You have a coach over the last 10 years who allowed messages to go out that was both racist — it was demeaning to women," Johnson said. "It was unfortunate, and it took an outcry to have him forced to resign. We have a cultural problem within the NFL."
Johnson also criticized the league's response to Kapernick's kneeling during the national anthem while playing for the 49ers. Kapernick has since said he is being "denied employment" in the league because of his on-field activism.
“That inequity that a football player displaying his objection to how individuals are being killed in the street is now banned, but a coach felt comfortable enough to send emails around tells you that the culture of the NFL needs to be examined," Johnson said.
"It needs to be a more equitable approach on how to handle issues that are against a community norm that we want to uphold."