The situation has escalated between Jon Gruden and the NFL.
The disgraced ex-Las Vegas Raiders head coach was forced into resignation in October after an investigation into the Washington Football Team revealed personal emails containing racist, homophobic and misogynistic remarks.
Some of the crude insults were used in reference to league commissioner Roger Goodell. But his emails with former WFT president Bruce Allen were just a few examined out of 650,000 in the workplace misconduct investigation, in which the NFL says no other teams, executives or personnel were implicated.
Gruden is going to make the league prove it, on Friday filing a lawsuit against the NFL and its commissioner. And according to Legue of Justice legal analyst Amy Dash, the emails could become public as a result.
Here was Dash’s analysis:
The complaint says the league and Goodell, “purposefully and maliciously acted in concert with each other, and with others, to release only those emails that portrayed Gruden negatively. In doing so, they intentionally singled out Gruden to make him appear as the solitary bad actor at a time when Defendants were facing intense public scrutiny over the mismanagement of the Washington Football Team investigation.”
The fact that the suit alleges that the motive for allegedly leaking Gruden’s emails was to distract from the top secret Washington Football investigation findings indicates Gruden’s team will almost certainly demand the release of the 650,000 emails as part of discovery in the case.
The goal will be to uncover other damaging emails within the 650,000 to show that Gruden was targeted as the alleged fall guy.
Gruden will also demand Goodell’s emails from after the investigation, to show the inner workings of what was going on at the NFL around the time the Gruden emails were leaked and try to find a smoking gun showing Goodell played a role in the leaks. The release of these emails could also shine a light on what factored into the league’s decision to not share the emails or findings and whether pressure from Snyder or other owners played a role in the league departing from its normal investigation protocols and procedures.
Here’s the full legal synopsis from League of Justice.
The NFL on Friday responded to the lawsuit, emphatically claiming the allegations were “meritless” and would be fought tirelessly.
It will be interesting to see if the NFL Players Association gets involved with how everything played out for Gruden, but executive director DeMaurice Smith already expressed vested interest in a “full accounting” of all 650,000 emails.