Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden is under fire for an alleged racist trope he used in a 2011 email while he was at ESPN to insult NFL executive DeMaurice Smith, who is Black:

Gruden wrote in the email that was in response to the ongoing NFL lockout, “Dumboris Smith has lips the size of michellin tires”:

The NFL called the email, “appalling, abhorrent and wholly contrary to the NFL’s values”:

And the Raiders are investigating the matter:

But was what Gruden said actually racist?

Gruden told The Athletic’s Vic Tafur that “I refer to guys when I see them lying — and I can tell they’re lying — I refer to them as ‘rubber lips.’ I went too far calling him the Michellin lips. I never had a blade of racism in me. I was just pissed and used a terrible way to insult a guy”:

Maybe Gruden’s critics can find another example of him being a racist before they cancel him over this one email, ‘eh?