NFL issues response to Jon Gruden lawsuit
Jon Gruden filed a lawsuit against the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday, and the league has wasted little time responding.
After the details of Gruden’s lawsuit surfaced on Friday, NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy issued a statement calling the allegations “entirely meritless.”
Statement from NFL spokesman @nflprguy on Jon Gruden's lawsuit against the league and Commissioner Roger Goodell: "The allegations are entirely meritless and the NFL will vigorously defend against these claims.” https://t.co/pQA1RDJuPe
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) November 12, 2021
Gruden’s 21-page lawsuit accuses the NFL and Goodell of leaking damaging emails in order to force him into resigning as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. The 58-year-old’s attorneys say the NFL orchestrated a “Soviet-style character assassination” on Gruden and intentionally withheld the emails for months in order to inflict maximum damage when they were released.
The lawsuit also says the initially NFL leaked one email — the one in which Gruden mocked NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith over the size of his lips — and then threatened to release more if Gruden remained the coach of the Raiders. More emails leaked days later in which Gruden used a gay slur and other problematic language. That’s when he resigned.
Gruden’s emails, which came from the 2011-2018 time period, were uncovered during the NFL’s investigation into workplace misconduct allegations against the Washington Football Team. 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. The lawsuit cites that as evidence that Gruden was railroaded.
Someone who spoke with Gruden over a week ago said the former coach believes the “truth” will eventually come out.
Photo: Aug 18, 2021; Thousand Oaks, CA, USA; Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden during a joint practice against the Los Angeles Rams. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports