Updated August 23, 2022 - 10:13 am
The NFL claimed in recent court filings that former Raiders coach Jon Gruden had “consistently” sent derogatory emails during his time as the team’s coach.
In November, Gruden sued the NFL and league commissioner Roger Goodell, claiming that the league had leaked his emails in an attempt to ruin his career and reputation. He had resigned as coach the month prior after The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times published racist, misogynistic and anti-LGBTQ emails he had written.
Gruden’s claim that the emails that led to his departure were all sent before he had signed an agreement with the Raiders was disputed by the NFL in court documents filed Aug. 16.
“Gruden’s claim (and purported finding of fact) on the timing of his emails is, in reality, very much disputed by the NFL Parties and in fact false,” the league’s lawyers wrote in the court filing. “Discovery — necessary to make any finding of fact on this issue — will show that Gruden continued to send the same kind of derogatory emails consistently following his start date with the Raiders.”
Gruden’s lawyer, Adam Hosmer-Henner, said in a statement sent to the Review-Journal that the league’s argument’s were “unsubstantiated.”
“The NFL has tried to avoid discovery from the start, not Jon Gruden,” he said. “This is just another attempt by the NFL and Commissioner Goodell to save face by attacking Jon Gruden while still not owning up the truth of their actions. Jon isn’t going to try to hide from his deposition, is the Commissioner?”
Goodell and the NFL have argued that Gruden is deflecting blame from himself for the ramifications he faced after the emails were made public, and that the lawsuit should be dismissed. However, District Judge Nancy Allf denied a motion to dismiss the lawsuit during a court hearing in May.
The NFL has denied the league or Goodell were responsible for the emails becoming public and has contended it would have fired Gruden had he not stepped down.
The league and Goodell had also submitted a motion for the case to be arbitrated outside court. Gruden has argued that since he is no longer an NFL employee, the case should not be arbitrated under the league’s constitution. His lawyers have written in court documents that arbitration would be unfair because Goodell would have “unlimited authority to determine the scope and procedure of the arbitration.”
Following the May court hearing, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement that the case should have been sent to arbitration, and that the league intended to appeal the judge’s decision.
“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,” McCarthy wrote.
As of Monday, another hearing in the case has not been scheduled.