Jon Gruden accuses NFL of "character murder" in lawsuit

Jon Gruden, who resigned as coach of the Las Vegas Raiders last month after the New York Times published details of emails in which he m...


Jon Gruden, who resigned as coach of the Las Vegas Raiders last month after the New York Times published details of emails in which he made homophobic, misogynistic and racist comments, is suing the NFL and its commissioner, Roger Goodell, for what Gruden’s lawyers claim was a conspiracy to smear his reputation and ruin his career.

The 21-page lawsuit, filed Thursday in Clark County, Nevada’s Eighth District Judicial Court, accuses the league and Goodell of engaging in “a malicious and orchestrated campaign” against Gruden, comparing their treatment to the ‘former coach to’ a Soviet-style character assassination.

The lawsuit accuses the NFL and Goodell of intentionally leaking the emails to The Times and The Wall Street Journal in the middle of the Raiders’ season to inflict “maximum damage” on Gruden. The newspaper October 8 first reported that Gruden, who is white, had used racist tropes to disparage DeMaurice Smith, who is black and is the executive director of the NFL Players Association.

When Gruden remained coach after the Journal report, the league, according to the lawsuit, “stepped up the pressure” by suggesting that additional documents would be made public if the Raiders did not fire Gruden. The lawsuit accuses the NFL of later leaking more posts to The Times, which published its report on October 11. Gruden resigned within hours.

Jordan Cohen, a spokesperson for The Times, said: “As a matter of principle, The Times does not discuss its supply. The Journal declined to comment.

The emails were discovered by the league during an investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct against the Washington football team, which did not directly implicate Gruden. The emails had been exchanged with former Washington team president Bruce Allen, among others, during Gruden’s stint as ESPN commentator, and before he became coach of the Raiders in 2018. He regularly disparaged the people of the NFL, including Goodell.

Raiders owner Mark Davis told reporters on October 27, when the league owners met in New York City, that team officials only heard about the emails when the Journal wrote them down. had contacted. The league then sent a batch of emails to the Raiders. Davis said he wondered why the league, which had had the emails for months, hadn’t shared them sooner.

These emails represented a fraction of about 650,000 messages reviewed by the NFL, which determined that the work environment in Washington was “very unprofessional” and perpetuated harassment and bullying. Washington was fined $ 10 million, but the league released only a brief summary of the investigation – not a full account.

“There is no explanation or justification why Gruden’s emails were the only ones made public of the 650,000 emails collected as part of the NFL investigation into the Washington football team or why the emails were withheld for months before being posted midway through the Raiders’ season, ”Adam Hosmer-Henner, one of Gruden’s attorneys, said in a statement.

Brian McCarthy, spokesperson for the league, called the allegations “entirely without merit”.

“The NFL will vigorously defend itself against these allegations,” McCarthy said in an email to The Times.

Following Gruden’s resignation, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – whom he coached for the franchise’s first Super Bowl title in the 2002 season – removed his name from their Ring of Honor at Raymond James Stadium. . Gruden had insulted a member of the Glazer family who owned the team in a 2015 post. Gruden also lost his sponsorship contract with shoe and apparel company Skechers and was taken out of the Madden NFL 22 video game.

He may also have damaged his relationship with one of his former Raiders players, Carl Nassib, who in June became the first active NFL player to publicly declare he is gay. Gruden used a derogatory term when writing that Goodell pressured the Rams to draft Michael Sam, a gay player selected in 2014. Nassib asked for a personal day and did not join the Raiders in training when the team first met after Gruden left.

Gruden apologized in a statement the night he resigned, saying he “never intended to hurt anyone”.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Jon Gruden accuses NFL of "character murder" in lawsuit
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