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Gruden: NFL appears ‘quite foolish’ in light of recent revelations

Updated March 7, 2022 - 2:03 pm

Former Raiders coach Jon Gruden said the NFL appeared “quite foolish” when arguing it had an interest in “rooting racism, sexism and homophobia” out of the league, according to court documents filed Friday.

“These statements were nothing more than hollow corporate speak when made on January 19, 2022, but they appear quite foolish now after the torrent of revelations against the NFL and (Roger Goodell) that have recently come to light,” Gruden’s lawyers wrote in court filings opposing the NFL’s request to dismiss a lawsuit Gruden filed against the league in November.

Lawyers for Goodell and the NFL did not immediately reply to request for comment Monday.

Gruden resigned in October after racist, misogynistic and anti-gay emails he wrote were publicized by The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Gruden sued the league and Goodell, the NFL’s commissioner, and claimed the NFL leaked the emails in an attempt to ruin his career and reputation.

In January, the NFL and Goodell filed court documents asking for the lawsuit to be dismissed.

In the documents, the NFL’s lawyers wrote that the league has “an existing right to cancel Gruden’s contract and that they — along with society at large — have an unequivocal interest in rooting racism, sexism and homophobia out of professional football.”

Gruden, in Friday’s court filings, disputed the statement, referencing former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores’ lawsuit from February alleging racism in the NFL’s hiring practices.

Lawyers for the former Raiders coach also wrote that the case is not about “whether Gruden’s statements constituted conduct detrimental to the NFL.”

“Instead, this case is solely about Defendant’s conduct and their selective leaking of Gruden’s emails, their intent to harm Gruden, and their threats to release further documents unless the Raiders fired Gruden,” the court filings said.

The NFL has contended it would have fired Gruden had he not stepped down, and that the league’s power to discipline him, regardless of whether those emails ever became public, renders pointless any motivation that they leaked the emails.

The NFL has denied it was responsible for the emails becoming public.

Gruden also filed court documents Friday opposing the league’s request for the case to be arbitrated under the NFL constitution. Gruden argued that because he is no longer an NFL employee, he “therefore should be outside the ambit of the NFL Constitution.”

Gruden’s lawyers argued that an arbitration would be unfair because Goodell would have “unlimited authority to determine the scope and procedure of the arbitration.”

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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