Former Raiders coach Jon Gruden sues NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell
Jon Gruden’s tenure as a NFL coach may have come to an end but his claims against the NFL are just getting started. In a 21 page lawsuit document filed Thursday, the former Raiders coach accused Goodell and the NFL of trying to destroy his career and reputation through a “malicious and orchestrated campaign.” We haven’t heard anything publicly from Gruden since he was forced to resign after his misogynistic and racist emails were leaked.
Thursday Gruden’s attorney Adam Hosmer-Henner spoke volumes with this statement: “Jon Gruden has filed suit against the National Football League and Commissioner Goodell in the Eighth Judicial District Court in Clark County, Nevada. The complaint alleges that the defendants selectively leaked Gruden’s private correspondence to the Wall Street Journal and New York Times in order to harm Gruden’s reputation and force him out of his job. There is no explanation or justification for why Gruden’s emails were the only one made public out of the 650,000 emails collected in the NFL’s investigation of the Washington Football Team or for why the emails were held for months before being released in the middle of the Raiders’ season.” The lawsuit refers to the situation as “a Soviet-style character assassination. There was no warning and no process. Defendants held the emails for months until they were leaked to the national media in the middle of the Raiders’ season ... to cause maximum damage to Gruden.”
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told CNN in a statement, "The allegations are entirely meritless and the NFL will vigorously defend against these claims." Gruden believes he was the scapegoat in a bigger operation. Though the source of the leaked emails is unknown, the lawsuit claims they were leaked by the NFL and alleges the league deliberately sought to hurt Gruden while other details of the investigation into the Washington football team were kept secret. Per Tashan Reed of The Athletic, the lawsuit describes seven causes of action that claim Gruden has damages “in excess of $15,000.00” each. Gruden claims in the suit that he has taken a huge financial hit and his reputation has been damaged.
Gruden isn’t entirely wrong. While Gruden isn’t a saint and what he said was wrong. Gruden’s situation has to raise some eyebrows. Why were Gruden’s messages the only ones to hit the public? Especially considering this situation stems from an investigation of an organization that the league deemed corrupt enough to fine $10 million back in July.
Last month Goodell said about the matter "We're very conscious of making sure we're protecting those who came forward," Goodell said after six hours of NFL owners meetings in midtown Manhattan. "That was a very high priority." However, Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer reported that two accusers were at the venue earlier in the day after Goodell made his statements. The accusers requested full transparency, and a former team employee, Rachel Engleson, tweeted that Goodell's comments were "false."
"This is false @nflcommish," the tweet read. "We were told our identities would be kept confidential in a written report. Meaning, if I spoke about something that happened to me, there would be no way Dan or others could trace the info back to me. Not that there would be no written report. C'mon."
Another interesting twist to the Gruden saga is that Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio noted that if the Raiders are specifically named as defendants, the NFL won’t be able to remove the case from state court to federal court. Doing so would be common practice by out-of-state interests that hope to avoid possible “home cooking” from elected state-court judges. The Gruden vs NFL situation is just getting started.