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.”
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.
The lawsuit may not be the only one the NFL faces over the situation.
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
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
Roger Goodell’s truly unfathomable compensation packages have been the worst-kept secrets in sports for quite some time, but it sounds like the NFL commissioner managed to set new personal records over the past two years.
According to a report from Ken Belson of the New York Times, Goodell made roughly $128 million from the periods between 2019-20 and 2020-21. Roughly 90 percent of the money was in the form of bonuses, and much of it came after he “helped secure such favorable labor and media deals” for the NFL.
Goodell was paid $63,900,050 in each of the last two years, which reportedly makes him one of the five highest-paid CEOs in the world.
The NFL has secured several new television and media deals over the past two years. There is also a new collective bargaining agreement between the league and NFL Players Association. While Goodell has been criticized numerous times for his handling of player issues and investigations, he has presided over an extremely profitable stretch for the most popular sport in America.
Goodell gave up his salary at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, but he clearly managed to do just fine. We know from previous reports that he makes an astronomical amount of money. That isn’t going to change anytime soon.
Jon Gruden resigned as the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders this week after numerous offensive emails that he sent were made public, and a lot of people are wondering what led to the private emails being leaked. Raiders owner Mark Davis seemingly subscribes to one of the more popular theories.
Davis was asked about the Gruden situation on Wednesday, and he did not have much to say. He did, however, throw a subtle jab at the NFL.
What exactly does that mean? The NFL has not handed out any disciplinary action in relation to Gruden’s emails. There have been no suspensions and no fines. If Davis is saying the NFL has “all the answers,” that is seemingly an indication that he believes the league is behind the email leaks.
The first Gruden email was leaked last Friday. In it, the former coach insulted NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith about the size of his lips. The headlines happened to come on the same day Smith was facing a vote for reelection. Many people believe the leak was timed to aid Smith’s reelection efforts. It’s possible that someone in the NFL wanted Smith to remain in his position.
More emails were released on Monday night. Those revealed that Gruden used gay slurs and insulted NFL commissioner Goodell multiple times. One theory is that Goodell was furious when he saw the emails and that someone from the league leaked them to force the Raiders to act.
Whatever the case, Davis doesn’t seem pleased with the NFL over the situation. That is a strong indication that he believes the league railroaded Gruden, even if he was disappointed with Gruden for the content of the emails.
Jon Gruden has apologized for the remark he made about DeMaurice Smith in a 2011 email, but the Las Vegas Raiders head coach says he also had harsh criticism of other NFL executives and team owners at the time.
Gruden told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen on Friday night that he was “in a bad frame of mind” when he made the comment about Smith. He says his emails were about the 2011 labor disagreement that led to a lockout and that one of them included a vulgar description of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
“I was in a bad frame of mind at the time (in 2011) and I called Roger Goodell a (expletive) in one of these emails, too,” Gruden said. “They were keeping players and coaches from doing what they love with a lockout.”
Gruden, who was with ESPN at the time, said he was also unhappy over some player safety issues.
“I was on a mission with high school football (in the Tampa area) during that time and there were a lot of parents who were scared about letting their kids play football,” he told Mortensen. “It just didn’t sit well with me.”
It’s unclear how many emails were flagged, but Gruden estimates that it was somewhere from five to seven. The 58-year-old seemed to be making the point that he was not singling out Smith, though it’s unlikely his critics will care.
Gruden said in the email that Smith, the executive director of the NFLPA, “has lips the size of michellin tires.” Many interpreted that as a racist remark, though Gruden provided another explanation for the description.
The NFL seemed intent on making an example out of the Denver Broncos last year when several of the team’s quarterbacks were ruled ineligible for a game due to COVID-19 protocols. We now have a better idea of why the league’s handling of the situation seemed so ruthless.
As you may recall, the Broncos had to start practice squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton at quarterback in Week 12 last season. They simply ran out of quarterbacks after Jeff Driskel tested positive for COVID-19 and Drew Lock, Brett Rypien, and Blake Bortles were all deemed close contacts. Rather than postpone the game by a few days, the NFL forced the Broncos to face the New Orleans Saints on Sunday as scheduled.
Why? Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times published a lengthy feature on Tuesday that examined the many challenges the NFL faced last season. In the story, he revealed that the NFL denied the Broncos’ request to postpone their game after league officials determined the Broncos tried to “fool the system.”
According to Farmer, surveillance footage revealed that Denver’s quarterbacks all removed their contact tracing devices and put them in four separate corners of the film room. They then sat close to one another while watching film.
John Elway was furious with the NFL. He admitted earlier this year that he hung up on the league office because he was so angry that the game was not postponed.
Later in the season, the Baltimore Ravens dealt with a COVID-19 outbreak and the NFL postponed their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Some players were angry that the NFL was flexible for the Ravens but not the Bronocs. The league said at the time that the decision was based on Denver’s COVID situation being more contained than the one with the Ravens. There was clearly more to the story than that.
Mac Jones appeared to look anxious as he tumbled down the draft board on Thursday night, but did the former Alabama star get exactly what he wanted?
Jones seemed genuinely thrilled when the New England Patriots drafted him with the 15th overall pick. Many thought he might be disappointed after he was projected to go as high as No. 3 to the San Francisco 49ers, but it sounded like Jones delivered a clear message to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
It wasn’t entirely clear, but it sounded like Jones said “this is what I wanted, don’t tell anybody.” He may have been joking that he didn’t want to offend the 49ers or any other team that was reportedly interested in drafting him.
Aside from the pressure of having to follow in Tom Brady’s footsteps, who wouldn’t want to play for the Patriots? Bill Belichick is arguably the greatest NFL coach of all time. The Patriots have outstanding ownership and are one of the premier franchises in sports. There are far worse spots Jones could have landed, even if he did have to wait longer than he thought.
Heck, Jones and Belichick may even share one hilarious thing in common. Jones has every right to be excited about where he ended up.
The NFL Draft looked a lot different last year near the start of the coronavirus pandemic, and there will be plenty of restrictions in place still for this year’s event. However, some fans will be happy to hear that bro hugs from the commissioner are back.
During a draft conference call on Friday, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe asked if NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will be able to high-five and hug players again this year after calling their names on draft day. The short answer is yes, because Goodell is fully vaccinated.
Goodell hosted the NFL’s fully virtual draft last year and announced picks from his basement. An in-person draft will be held this year in Cleveland, with the NFL saying roughly 50,000 fans will be present at the site of the event per day.
Last year’s draft was a success despite some of the extremely bizarre setups teams had. Many questioned whether the NFL should actually hold the event on-schedule, but they managed to pull it off. Between Goodell hugging players and fans in attendance, the 2021 Draft should feel a lot more normal.
The majority of NFL teams did not allow fans to attend games last season due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Roger Goodell is confident the situation will be a lot different in 2021. In fact, the commissioner is optimistic that there will be no limits at all on fan attendance.
In a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, Goodell said the NFL is expecting to host games in front of full stadiums this fall.
“All of us in the NFL want to see every one of our fans back,” Goodell said, via Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports. “We expect to have full stadiums in the upcoming season.”
The NFL does not have full control over how many fans will be allowed at games; local governments set those guidelines. That is why certain NBA and NHL teams have been allowing fans at games, while others have not.
As of Tuesday, more than 50 million people in the United States had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. That is more than 15 percent of the country’s total population. Assuming the pace of distribution remains the same or improves, there should be no reason NFL stadiums can’t operate at full capacity come September.
The NFL hosted more than 1 million fans at events last season. As Goodell noted, there were no known coronavirus outbreaks or major consequences. Hopefully we won’t have to deal with the confusion of cardboard cutouts at the Super Bowl next year.
It has been more than five years since Roger Goodell made one of his most controversial decisions as NFL commissioner, suspending Tom Brady for four games. On Thursday, Goodell reminded us that the disciplinary action didn’t change his opinion of the six-time Super Bowl champion.
Goodell met with the media at the site of Super Bowl LV, and a reporter asked him if he still believes suspending Brady four games for his alleged role in Deflategate was the right thing to do. Goodell avoided the question and heaped praise on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback.
“Tom Brady has shown that he’s probably the greatest player to ever play the game,” Goodell said, via Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald. “His ability to rise to the big occasions, and I think everybody rises around him. That’s what’s absolutely incredible to me. “
Goodell has been criticized for years over Brady’s suspension. The decision was one of the most polarizing in NFL history, with some people convinced Brady cheated by having equipment managers deflate balls while others believed the entire ordeal was a farce. New England Patriots fans have let Goodell have it every chance they get.
Brady has never really shared his thoughts on Goodell’s role in the Deflategate scandal, though Brady’s father once unloaded on the commissioner.
You have to wonder if Goodell regrets the way it was handled now that Brady remains the face of the NFL years later.
Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski have teamed up yet again! Treat yourself or a friend with this great Tampa Fiesta shirt. You can buy it here.