Former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden called it ‘unconscionable’ that the NFL would want to move its lawsuit to arbitration and called the league’s stated concern for racial issues ‘utterly insane’ now after the torrent of revelations against the NFL and (Commissioner Roger) Goodell that recently came to light.
This is a reference in part to Brian Flores’ lawsuit for alleged racist hiring practices.
Gruden, in documents filed in Nevada state court — one opposing the NFL’s motion to dismiss his case and the other opposing the league’s motion to dismiss the arbitration case – again accused Goodell of leaking his emails containing racist and homophobic content, leading to his resignation. The NFL denied leaking the emails.
But Gruden, in court filings, argues that the content of his emails is not at issue, but the NFL’s alleged pressure campaign last fall to get him fired.
“Instead, the content of Gruden’s emails is irrelevant because the litigation involves defendants’ conduct in the selective leaking of documents and interference with Gruden’s contractual relationships,” its motion said. In the other filing, the coach argued, “As defendants attempt to distract from their actionable conduct by again tarnishing Gruden’s reputation, his communications from years ago are not simply not at issue in his complaint”.
Gruden sent the emails in question while working from 2011 to 2018 as ESPN’s Monday Night Football commentator to Washington Football Team President Bruce Allen. More than 650,000 of Allen’s emails were reviewed as part of the league’s investigation into sexual harassment and workplace culture at the WFT.
In 2011, Gruden wrote, referring to NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith, who is black, “Dumboriss Smith has lips the size of michellin (sic) tires,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
In a 2014 email to Allen, which was filed publicly as part of legal proceedings, Gruden referenced the league’s perceived pressure to hire “gay” players, an apparent reference to Michael Sam, an openly gay player trying to make the St. Louis Rams. And Gruden in other emails has used homophobic language to describe Goodell.