Bucs Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp has come to the defense of his former head coach Jon Gruden.

The Raiders fired Gruden, who was their head coach, in October of 2021 after e-mails surfaced from a decade ago when he was at ESPN that contained language deemed to be racist, anti-gay and misogynistic.

The e-mails were sent to former Washington general manager Bruce Allen, PDQ restaurants founder Nick Reader, Outback Bowl executive Jim McVay and Hooters co-founder Ed Droste. The handful of Gruden’s e-mails, which are part of 650,000 e-mails from the Washington Football Team that are under investigation, were leaked to the New York Times.

Former Bucs head coach Jon Gruden - Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR

Former Bucs head coach Jon Gruden – Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR

The fallout from those vulgar e-mails led to Gruden not only being fired from the Raiders, but his name being removed from the Bucs Ring of Honor.

In the e-mails, Gruden called NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a homophobic slur and “an anti-football p—y.” He used a derogatory term when talking about former football player Michael Sam, who is openly gay. Gruden also used racially derogatory language to describe NFLPA president DeMaurice Smith.

Sapp Says That Gruden Is Not A Racist

Yet Sapp, who won a Super Bowl with Gruden in 2002, defended his former head coach, saying that Gruden’s comments might have been crass, but not racist. Sapp’s comments were in an interview on VladTV via Nick Geddes of Outkick.com.

“Wait, wait, wait – where’s the racist term?” Sapp said in an interview on VladTV. “That’s racist? If he walked in and said in my locker room ‘It looks like I got a bunch of DeMaurice Smiths in there by the mouth,’ that would be a racial trope. But to say DeMaurice Smith got big lips? Yeah, DeMaurice Smith got big lips, just like Barack Obama got big ears. We’ve been calling Big-Lipped Johnny ‘Big Lipped Johnny’ for the last 40 years.

“I bet this is the first time in DeMaurice Smith’s life someone called him ‘big lipped’ and he said it was racist.”

Sapp said there is no way Gruden is a racist.

“You’re not going to call my head coach a racist,” Sapp said. “I sat in front of him for two years and I’m a child of the South, raised in Florida. There’s no way a fire-breathing racist would be in front of me or on my speed dial and we haven’t had a real discussion about ‘your tendencies to not see the Black man on your level.’ There’s no way Jon Gruden’s that.”

While Sapp defended Gruden against charges of racism, he stopped well short of absolving his former head coach of any wrongdoing with the language used in those e-mails.

“The rest of that is way out of line, across the board,” Sapp said. “No, just not racist,” Sapp said. “Don’t put that tag on him. The stuff about Michael Sam and Goodell being some not-football-knowing whatever, ah, come on. But we all know people that talk like that.

“Hey, if you are a racist, I guarantee you the ‘N-word’ would’ve shown up in them e-mails. I guarantee you.”

Sapp points out that Gruden did not use the “N-word” in any of those e-mails.

Sapp Believes Gruden Will Triumph Legally Over The NFL

Legendary Bucs DT Warren Sapp

Legendary Bucs DT Warren Sapp – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Gruden is suing Goodell and the NFL for purposefully leaking those few select e-mails out of the 650,000 other e-mails from the Washington Football Team. He said that the NFL destroyed his coaching and broadcasting career using a “malicious and orchestrated campaign.”

Gruden scored two major court victories in Nevada in May. Gruden and the NFL do not have to go arbitration to settle, and Gruden’s case can proceed.

With the lawsuit allowed to continue, Gruden and his lawyers can now pursue legal discovery. They will attempt to unearth the contents of the other 650,000 e-mails that the public hasn’t seen. The fallout from those e-mails could be very damaging to the Washington Commanders, other teams and the league itself.

“It’s just starting and the hits will keep on coming,” Sapp said. “You know this like I do, Vlad. When you have gathered 650,000 e-mails and only six of them get released, the first thing your lawyer is going to ask for is discovery. Once I ask for discovery, it’s over at that point. Absolutely over.”

Sapp predicts Gruden will legally triumph over the NFL in the end.

“They will roll over, they’re absolutely going to roll over,” Sapp said. “They have to. This is the worst thing they could possibly imagine. Can you imagine what those e-mails say? Because we only saw what Gruden said. Where are the chains of replies?”

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 27th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive coordinator/defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]
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Knightrider79
Knightrider79
5 days ago

The reason the NFL didn’t want the case to go to court and would rather it go to mediation was simple. They didn’t want any of the information to get out in regards to the investigation. You’re telling me that in 650,000 emails, you only came up with those of Grudens? Nah I don’t believe that for a second. I’m no way we’re his remarks racist, and if people think it was then maybe they’re trying to cover for their racism. How do you say someone has big lips and people went to racism? Do they think black people have… Read more »

GrafikDetail
Reply to  Knightrider79
5 days ago

, unfortunately, making fun of black people’s lips was & still is a go-to insult for many bigots… so there are some racial undertones to it… c’mon you’re from the south and over 40; don’t play naive LOL
but I think Gruden was making a joke… I honestly laughed at the Michelin man quote when I first saw it LOL
and let’s be clear, Gruden allegedly being racist wasn’t a problem for the NFL; they were going to sweep it rug until he dropped the F-bomb, and then they caved to the LMNOPQ community’s fake outrage

Knightrider79
Knightrider79
Reply to  GrafikDetail
5 days ago

Smith has some big lips, that is a fact. People should be able to call it out. This has been a hit job from the beginning so the NFL could hide their crimes. Let’s not forget that in these emails it was shown that Dan Snyder used the Redskins cheerleaders as call girls to woo high roller clientele. They took them on a trip to the beach and had them “hook up” with these rich businessmen. That’s way worse than anything they’re blaming Gruden for doing.

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
5 days ago

Without defending the content of Gruden’s emails, he was clearly treated outrageously and inequitably by the NFL, specifically by Goodell. Out Gruden, then out everybody.

I expect that if a judge issues an order for discovery along those lines, the NFL will settle in order to avoid a can of worms on all the other emails to and from possibly dozens or hundreds of others who will end up not looking very good. Dumb move by Goodell.

GrafikDetail
Reply to  Naplesfan
5 days ago

I hope he gets every penny he deserves!

twspin
twspin
5 days ago

I;m still sore over thew way Gruden was treated. the whole thing smells.And its obvious The commish went after Gruden. There are a plethora of things to be listed here. Its just funny out of all the players he’s coached here in Tampa, only one had something negative to say. That being Keyshaun Johnson. If Gruden was racist, Both Brooks and Sapp would surely step up. Especially Sapp. He pulls no punches. I really hope Gruden wins his case.

fredster
fredster
5 days ago

Everyone’s a racist now don’t you know. They must all be cancelled by the politically correct cry baby’s. This country has become a joke. Sticks and stones people. He’s a foul mouth jerk. Who F-ing cares. I hope he sues the hell out of them. Goodell is a complete douche bag.

drdneast
drdneast
Reply to  fredster
4 days ago

Thank you for your input Tucker Carlson. Politically correct is the term the uber violent leaning right has used to replace the word, “polite,”

scubog
scubog
4 days ago

I don’t remember the name of the black comedian who made fun of Mick Jagger by saying, “That MF’er got some big ass lips”. Was that racist?

drdneast
drdneast
Reply to  scubog
4 days ago

Whatever it is, I am sure your parents and your kindergarten teacher told you it was rude and impolite to make fun of other peoples appearances. Be that is it may, that was a personal email and Gruden expected it to remain private. His right to privacy certainly seems to have been violated.