Jets owner Woody Johnson denies making disparaging remarks about Black people, women


New York Jets co-owner Robert “Woody” Johnson got to branch out from his NFL world in 2017 when President Donald Trump picked him to be his ambassador to the United Kingdom.

That official position is also why Johnson finds himself under scrutiny beyond what he’s probably used to as an NFL team owner.

On Tuesday, a New York Times story said Trump asked Johnson to “see if the British government could help steer” the British Open to his Trump Turnberry resort in Scotland.

On Wednesday, CNN reported that a State Department watchdog investigation over Johnson included allegations of racist and sexist comments.

President Donald Trump, center, and first lady Melania Trump, right, walk with Woody Johnson, left, United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom in 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump walk with Woody Johnson, the United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom in 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Woody Johnson allegedly made several troubling comments

CNN reported Johnson “made racist generalizations about Black men and questioned why the Black community celebrates Black History Month.” CNN said that information came from three sources and a diplomat familiar with the complaints to the State Department inspector general. Ahead of an event for Black History Month, CNN reported that Johnson “appeared agitated” and asked if the audience would be "a whole bunch of Black people.” Three of CNN’s sources said Johnson questioned why there was a separate month to celebrate Black history, and he said Black fathers who didn't remain with their families was the “real challenge.”

CNN also reported Johnson made “cringeworthy” comments about women’s looks and “it was a struggle to get him on board for an event for International Women's Day,” according to the network’s sources.

Diplomats said Johnson often casually made these offensive remarks, according to CNN’s story.

Johnson denies allegations

Johnson didn’t initially address the alleged remarks when asked by CNN, and CNN said the White House had no comment.

Later Wednesday, Johnson issued a statement through the Jets.

“I have followed the ethical rules and requirements of my office at all times,” Johnson’s statement reads. “These false claims of insensitive remarks about race and gender are totally inconsistent with my longstanding record and values.”

CNN said it was unclear how much investigators focused on Johnson’s comments. It appears they were more focused on the allegations that Johnson was asked by Trump to help guide the prestigious British Open to one of his properties.

Not long after Washington’s NFL team came under fire for allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace, the NFL has another issue concerning another team and a team owner.

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