Former Raiders coach Jon Gruden sues NFL over dispute via emails

Former Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden has sued Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL, alleging that a “malicious and orchestrated campaign” was used to destroy his career by leaking old offensive emails he had sent.

The lawsuit was filed in Clark County District Court in Nevada on Thursday, exactly one month after Gruden resigned as Raiders coach following the publication of his emails by the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. .

Emails sent to former Washington football team manager Bruce Allen between 2011 and 2018, during Gruden’s stint as an announcer on ESPN, included racist, misogynistic and homophobic comments. They come from a set of 650,000 emails obtained by the league in June during an investigation into the work culture of the Washington football team.

Gruden’s attorney, Adam Hosmer-Henner, said in a statement that the defendants “selectively leaked Gruden’s private correspondence to the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times in order to damage Gruden’s reputation and force him to leave his job.” .

“In contrast to the formalities of the Washington football team investigation, the defendants’ treatment of Gruden was a Soviet-style murder of character,” the suit alleges. “There was no warning or process. The defendants withheld the emails for months until they were leaked to the national media in the middle of the Raiders season in order to cause maximum damage to Gruden. “

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy denied the allegations.

“The allegations are without merit and the NFL will vigorously defend itself against these claims,” ​​McCarthy said.

The Wall Street Journal reported Oct. 8 that Gruden used a racist term to describe the NFL union boss DeMaurice Smith.

The lawsuit reveals that the NFL pressured the Raiders to fire Gruden after the email was posted and “hinted that other documents would be released if Gruden was not fired.”

Gruden trained two days later, and on October 11 the New York Times revealed other offensive emails. Gruden then resigned less than half of the fourth year of his 10-year, $ 100 million contract with the Raiders.

Raiders owner Mark Davis explained last month that he had reached an agreement with Gruden over the last six years of his contract. Davis did not disclose the terms of the deal.

The lawsuit notes that Gruden lost a sponsorship deal with Skechers and had the possibility of appearing in the video game Madden NFL 2022 withdrawn, in addition to having his future jobs and sponsorship prospects hurt.

Gruden is seeking unspecified damages in seven claims, as well as punitive damages and attorney’s fees.

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Former Raiders coach Jon Gruden sues NFL over dispute via emails