Home / Articles / NFL files to dismiss Jon Gruden lawsuit, reveals former coach sent offensive messages to at least 6 people - The Athletic

NFL files to dismiss Jon Gruden lawsuit, reveals former coach sent offensive messages to at least 6 people - The Athletic

The NFL filed in Nevada state court to move former Raiders head coach Jon Gruden’s lawsuit over his leaked emails to arbitration, divulging that the ex-coach also sent offensive electronic correspondences to at least six people.

  • Posted on 20th Jan, 2022 03:00 AM
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NFL files to dismiss Jon Gruden lawsuit, reveals former coach sent offensive messages to at least 6 people - The Athletic Image

The NFL filed in Nevada state court to move former Raiders head coach Jon Gruden’s lawsuit over his leaked emails to arbitration, divulging that the ex-coach also sent offensive electronic correspondences to at least six people. The filings strongly suggest that league commissioner Roger Goodell would have unilaterally fired Gruden had not the coach resigned in October.

“Gruden sent a variety of similarly abhorrent emails to a half dozen recipients over a seven-year period, in which he denounced `the emergence of women as referees,’ and frequently used homophobic and sexist slurs to refer to Commissioner Goodell, then-Vice President Joseph Biden, a gay professional football player drafted in 2014, and others,” the NFL wrote.

That moves the offensive emails beyond being just sent to former Washington Football Team president Bruce Allen. Those were sent while Gruden worked from 2011 to 2018 as a Monday Night Football commentator at ESPN. As part of the league’s investigation into sexual harassment at the WFT, more than 650,000 emails were reviewed.

In 2011, Gruden used a racist trope to refer to NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, who is Black. He wrote to Allen, “Dumboriss Smith has lips the size of michelin tires,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

In a 2014 email to Allen, which was publicly filed in a legal proceeding, Gruden referred to perceived league pressure to hire “queer” players, an apparent reference to Michael Sam, an openly gay player trying to make the St. Louis Rams. And Gruden in other emails used homophobic language to describe Goodell.

Gruden sued the league on Nov. 11, alleging the league leaked the emails to get back at him because of offensive things he had written about Goodell. The league denies it leaked the emails, but wrote doing so would have made no sense because the disclosures harmed the NFL’s image, and Goodell could have fired Gruden anyway.

“The crux of Gruden’s Complaint is that somehow the NFL or the Commissioner `leaked’ his non-confidential emails (which were already sitting in the hands of Gruden’s many recipients and as to which Gruden had no colorable expectation of privacy) to, for some inexplicable reason, destroy his career and ruin his reputation, despite the fact that the emails precipitated numerous media stories critical of the League, and also negatively impacted the League and the Raiders in the middle of the football season,” the NFL wrote, and “would have and could have permitted the Commissioner himself to sanction and fire Gruden.”

“Indeed, it would be hard to imagine conduct more detrimental to football than the use by a football coach of a racist trope to describe the leader of NFL Players Association.”

The NFL also filed a motion to dismiss but asked the court to stay that motion until it decides whether the case should move to arbitration. Under NFL contracts, disputes are mandated to be settled in arbitration. Gruden’s argument appears to be that this situation goes beyond the bounds of normal employment disagreements.

“This action—brought by Jon Gruden to blame anyone but himself for the fallout from the publication of racist, homophobic and misogynistic emails that he wrote and broadly circulated—belongs in arbitration under the clear terms of Gruden’s employment contract and the NFL’s Constitution and Bylaws to which Gruden is bound,” the NFL wrote.

The NFL argues that even if it did leak the emails, which it maintains it did not, Gruden could have no expectation of privacy.

NFL files to dismiss Jon Gruden lawsuit, reveals former coach sent offensive messages to at least 6 people - The Athletic View Story

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