We can safely speculate as to his reasons, but the NFL really wants Jon Gruden to shut up and go away.
Which puts me in the extremely uncomfortable position of… should I root for Gruden to go deep and continue to contend for the championship? Ugh.
What an indescribable realization.
Let me explain: In court filings recently reviewed by KLAS reporter David Charns, the NFL claims Gruden didn’t just send racist, sexist, xenophobic and/or anti-gay emails while at ESPN writing to her then-team Washington President Bruce Allen and others. Gruden has “consistently” sent these types of emails since being hired by the Raiders in early 2019.
As a practical matter, this isn’t exactly a surprising revelation. Leopards do not change their spots. A grown man peddling antiquated racist tropes by calling a highly educated black man like NFL Players Association head DeMaurice Smith a “Dumboriss” with “lips the size of michelin [sic] tires” is not expected to somehow gain consciousness because he got a different job.
But the NFL doesn’t care when Gruden sent his emails or who was paying him at the time he sent them.
The motion filed by the league is a threat to Gruden to protect the league’s interests. Perfect.
Lest we forget, at this point Gruden remains almost inexplicably the only person who has faced any real consequence for being involved in the vast, poisonous web of Washington’s workplace misconduct scandal. The NFL continues to protect Commanders owner Dan Snyder, who apparently did nothing to stop the chronic, toxic environment of misogyny and sexual harassment women in the Washington front office faced from Snyder’s subordinates. Snyder has also been accused of harassment and misconduct by at least two women. And former employees revealed they were told to make lewd videos, called “good bits,” for Snyder after the cheerleaders’ annual photo shoot, showing the women in unintended and various moments of nudity that appeared as they posed.
Someone decided to leak Gruden’s emails to the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, emails that led to what Gruden says was his “forced resignation” in October 2021 and a lawsuit against the league a month later. The NFL denies any connection to the leak.
And commissioner Roger Goodell would have us believe that of the 650,000 emails that were part of the Washington investigation, only the emails Gruden was a part of contained any racism, sexism, xenophobia or anti-gay sentiment.
This is probably why the NFL wants Gruden to stop pursuing his case in court, negotiate a settlement and shut up: Gruden can probably prove that he definitely wasn’t the only one who engaged in such juvenile behavior.
And that puts us in the extremely uncomfortable position of rooting for Gruden to go deep and continue to struggle, in hopes that if he does we’ll get an even better sense of how rotten the NFL really is.
If Gruden doesn’t just take the league’s money and the case moves forward, he might force discovery. Sure, we’ll likely see more of his emails, but we have a good sense of exactly who Gruden is through the exchanges that have already been made public. The big plus is that we might also see who else was sending and receiving some of those 650,000 emails, and whether Gruden’s electronic files have old messages to and from at least some of the league’s heavy hitters that contain many of the same kind. humiliating, dehumanizing, discriminatory content.
The NFL absolutely does not want that.
Despite mounting evidence to the contrary, the league wants us to believe that after Goodell said “black lives matter” in a video and the fields had “END RACISM” painted on the end zones and team owners agreed to give a few pennies each to the players. Coalition and has run a PSA on domestic violence, that it has solved everything. Nothing to see here, this is not an overtly racist, sexist, xenophobic group, laughing all the time with the hoi polloi as they drink champagne on their big yachts in the Mediterranean, as Snyder did for much of the summer while trying to avoid a subpoena by Congress.
So no matter how uncomfortable you feel, go Gruden.