Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden may not ultimately prevail in his lawsuit against the NFL, but it seems ever-woke NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell may have to explain in court why Gruden’s private musings about some players, broadcasters, and personalities became media fodder.
Gruden resigned as coach of the Las Vegas Raiders last October after emails were leaked that showed Gruden using slurs that his critics claimed were racist and homophobic.
The emails were sent to former Washington Redskins general manager Bruce Allen, a friend of Gruden’s. The correspondence was uncovered as the NFL investigated sexual harassment and other hostile-workplace claims against the Redskins and owner Daniel Snyder.
Gruden’s lawyer, Adam Hosmer-Henner, said last November when Gruden sued the NFL: “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 ones 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.”
Earlier this week a Nevada judge rejected the NFL’s petition to have the case dismissed or sent to arbitration.
As The Daily Wire reported, Judge Nancy Allf’s decision boosted “the possibility of a jury trial in his [Gruden’s] claim that the league and Commissioner Roger Goodell selectively leaked his emails in 2021.”
“Now Gruden’s suit will go to trial unless a settlement is reached.”
The NFL released a statement after the judge’s ruling saying it would appeal.
The league claimed Gruden’s claims ought to have been sent to arbitration.
The NFL’s remarks added, “The Court’s denial of our motion to dismiss is not a determination on the merits of Coach Gruden’s lawsuit, which, as we have said from the outset, lacks a basis in law and fact and proceeds from a false premise — neither the NFL nor the Commissioner leaked Coach Gruden’s offensive emails.”
Gruden told reporters, “I’m just going to let the process take care of itself. It’s good to be back in Vegas. I’m going to see some friends tonight. Go Raiders.”
Gruden guided Tampa Bay to its first Super Bowl win at the end of the 2002 season.
In Las Vegas, he was in the fourth year of a 10-year, $100 million contract.