The Jon Gruden saga had faded away in the news following the October resignation of the former Las Vegas Raiders head coach. Gruden resigned from his position after the discovery of emails he sent over a period of seven years while he was working as an analyst for ESPN on “Monday Night Football.”
The emails were discovered during the NFL’s investigation of workplace misconduct in the Washington Football Team’s organization and contained racially insensitive language, as well as the use of a gay slur.
Now, Gruden is suing the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell, accusing them of leaking the emails with the intention of forcing him out of his head coaching position with the Raiders.
“The complaint alleges that the defendants selectively leaked Gruden’s private correspondence to the Wall Street Journal and New York Times in order to harm Gruden’s reputation and force him out of his job,” Gruden’s attorney Adam Hosmer-Henner said. “There is no explanation or justification for why Gruden’s emails were the only ones made public out of the 650,000 emails collected in the NFL’s investigation of the Washington Football Team or for why the emails were held for months before being released in the middle of the Raiders’ season.”
Statement below from Jon Gruden’s attorney, Adam Hosmer-Henner, who filed the complaint Thursday in Clark County, Nevada court. Gruden is seeking damages on seven claims, as well as punitive damages and attorneys’ fees. pic.twitter.com/FsRocrutd2
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) November 12, 2021
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy denied the allegations in a statement.
“The allegations are entirely meritless and the NFL will vigorously defend against these claims,” McCarthy said.
On October 8, The Wall Street Journal published a report detailing a 2011 email from Gruden to Bruce Allen, then the president of the Washington Redskins. In the email, Gruden used racially insensitive language to describe the executive director of the NFL Players Association, DeMaurice Smith.
“Dumboriss Smith has lips the size of michellin tires,” Gruden wrote, according to the WSJ.
Gruden apologized for the email, but on October 11, The New York Times published a report that included additional emails from Gruden where he was found to have used a gay slur along with misogynistic language.
As reported by the Times, Gruden sent emails while he was working as an analyst for “Monday Night Football” to Allen and others regarding women referees in the NFL, homosexual players being drafted, and the topic of players protesting the national anthem.
Later in the day on October 11th, Gruden resigned as head coach of the Raiders.
“I have resigned as Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders,” Gruden said in a statement put out by the Raiders. “I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction. Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff, and fans of Raider Nation. I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone.”
The NFL has come under pressure to release the remainder of the emails from the Washington Football Team investigation, including by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, which sent a letter to Goodell requesting all documents from the investigation.
“The NFL has one of the most prominent platforms in America, and its decisions can have national implications,” the committee said in the letter. “The NFL’s lack of transparency about the problems it recently uncovered raises questions about the seriousness with which it has addressed bigotry, racism, sexism, and homophobia—setting troubling precedent for other workplaces.”
“The committee is seeking to fully understand this workplace conduct and the league’s response, which will help inform legislative efforts to address toxic work environments and workplace investigation processes; strengthen protections for women in the workplace; and address the use of non-disclosure agreements to prevent the disclosure of unlawful employment practices, including sexual harassment. We hope and trust that the NFL shares the committee’s goal of protecting American workers from harassment and discrimination.”
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to [email protected].