Jon Gruden files lawsuit against NFL, Roger Goodell
There has been speculation that Jon Gruden could file a lawsuit against the NFL since he was forced to resign last month, and the former Las Vegas Raiders coach has done just that.
Gruden filed a lawsuit in Clark County District Court on Thursday that names the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell as defendants. According to documents obtained by David Ferrara of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Gruden’s lawyers claim in the 21-page complaint that the league intentionally leaked damaging emails to force the former Super Bowl champion to step down.
“Through a malicious and orchestrated campaign, the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell sought to destroy the career and reputation of Jon Gruden, the former head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit accuses the NFL of leaking the first email and then threatening to release more if Gruden remained in his position as Raiders coach. Gruden says the NFL intentionally withheld the emails for months in order to release them when they could cause maximum damage.
“When their initial salvo did not result in Gruden’s firing or resignation, Defendants ratcheted up the pressure by intimating that further documents would become public if Gruden was not fired,” the lawsuit reads. “They followed through with this threat by leaking another batch of documents to the New York Times for an October 11, 2021 article.”
The first email surfaced on Friday, Oct. 8 in a Wall Street Journal article. In it, Gruden mocked NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith over the size of his lips. The email was described as Gruden using a racist trope against Smith, though the coach disputed that and said he was calling Smith a liar.
More emails leaked days later in a New York Times article. Gruden used a gay slur and other problematic language in those emails.
The emails Gruden sent came from the 2011-2018 time period. They were uncovered during the NFL’s investigation into the Washington Football Team regarding the franchise’s workplace environment. More than 650,000 emails were reviewed as part of the investigation, but the NFL has reportedly claimed Gruden’s were the only damaging ones.
Someone who spoke with Gruden over a week ago said the former coach believes the “truth” will eventually come out.
The lawsuit is not a surprise, and it may not be the only one the NFL faces over the situation.
Photo: Sep 19, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden takes the field before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports