The first headline regarding Jets owner Woody Johnson came from the New York Times. The second headline, a far more troubling one from Johnson’s perspective, comes from CNN.
According to CNN, the U.S. ambassador to Britain since August 2017 “made racist generalizations about Black men and questioned why the Black community celebrates Black History Month.” The report cites “three sources and a diplomat familiar with the complaints to the State Department inspector general.”
“He’s said some pretty sexist, racist” things, the unnamed diplomat with knowledge of complaints made about Johnson to the inspector general told CNN.
Regarding a 2018 event for Black History Month, Johnson reportedly “appeared agitated and asked if the audience would be ‘a whole bunch of Black people.’” Three unnamed sources told CNN that Johnson “argued that Black fathers didn’t remain with their families and that was the ‘real challenge.’” One source told CNN that an official who heard the comments was “stunned,” and that the incident was documented and reported.
Another source said Johnson’s comments about women’s looks have been “cringeworthy,” and that “it was a struggle to get him on board for an event for International Women’s Day,” with Johnson asking why he had to do a “feminist event.”
The Times article included this sentence: “There have been complaints that he complimented the appearances of female employees during staff meetings, and after interviewing a candidate [for] deputy chief of mission, he asked a colleague whether she was Jewish.”
Said the NFL in an email to PFT seeking comment: “We are aware of the report and would refer you to the State Department.” A State Department spokesperson told CNN that Johnson is “a valued member of the team who has led Mission UK honorably and professionally,” and that “[w]e stand by Ambassador Johnson and look forward to him continuing to ensure our special relationship with the UK is strong.”
There have been no reports or allegations of inappropriate comments or other behavior from Johnson in his capacity as the Jets’ owner.