November 30, 2021

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Jon Gruden Accuses N.F.L. of ‘Character Assassination’ in a Lawsuit

Jon Gruden Accuses N.F.L. of ‘Character Assassination’ in a Lawsuit

Jon Gruden, who resigned as coach of the Las Vegas Raiders final month after The New York Instances revealed particulars of emails through which he had made homophobic, misogynistic and racist remarks, is suing the N.F.L. and its commissioner, Roger Goodell, for what Gruden’s legal professionals contend was a plot to smear his fame and damage his profession.

The 21-page lawsuit, filed Thursday within the Eighth Judicial District Court docket in Clark County, Nev., accuses the league and Goodell of participating in “a malicious and orchestrated marketing campaign” in opposition to Gruden, likening their therapy of the previous coach to “a Soviet-style character assassination.”

The swimsuit accuses the N.F.L. and Goodell of deliberately leaking the emails to The Instances and The Wall Avenue Journal in the course of the center of the Raiders’ season to inflict “most injury” to Gruden. The Journal on Oct. 8 first reported that Gruden, who’s white, had used racist tropes to denigrate DeMaurice Smith, who’s Black and is the manager director of the N.F.L. Gamers Affiliation.

When Gruden remained as coach after the Journal report, the league, in accordance with the swimsuit, “ratcheted up the stress” by hinting that further paperwork can be made public if the Raiders didn’t hearth Gruden. The swimsuit accuses the N.F.L. of then leaking extra messages to The Instances, which published its report on Oct. 11. Gruden resigned inside hours.

Jordan Cohen, a spokesman for The Instances, mentioned, “As a matter of coverage, The Instances doesn’t talk about its sourcing.” The Journal declined to remark.

The emails have been found by the league throughout an investigation into office misconduct accusations in opposition to the Washington Soccer Workforce, which didn’t instantly contain Gruden. The emails had been exchanged with the previous Washington staff president Bruce Allen, amongst others, throughout Gruden’s stretch as an ESPN commentator, and earlier than he turned the Raiders’ coach in 2018. In them, he recurrently disparaged folks throughout the N.F.L., together with Goodell.

Raiders proprietor Mark Davis informed reporters on Oct. 27, when the league’s house owners met in New York, that staff officers had realized in regards to the emails solely when The Journal contacted them. The league then despatched a batch of emails to the Raiders. Davis mentioned that he puzzled why the league, which had the emails for months, didn’t share them sooner.

These emails represented a fraction of roughly 650,000 messages reviewed by the N.F.L., which decided that the office atmosphere in Washington was “extremely unprofessional” and perpetuated bullying and intimidation. Washington was fined $10 million, however the league launched solely a brief abstract of the investigation — not a full accounting.

“There isn’t a rationalization or justification for why Gruden’s emails have been the one ones made public out of the 650,000 emails collected within the N.F.L.’s investigation of the Washington Soccer Workforce or for why the emails have been held for months earlier than being launched in the course of the Raiders’ season,” Adam Hosmer-Henner, one among Gruden’s legal professionals, mentioned in an announcement.

Brian McCarthy, a spokesman for the league, referred to as the allegations “completely meritless.”

“The N.F.L. will vigorously defend in opposition to these claims,” McCarthy mentioned in an electronic mail to The Instances.

Within the aftermath of Gruden’s resignation, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — whom he coached to the franchise’s first Tremendous Bowl title, within the 2002 season — eliminated his title from their Ring of Honor at Raymond James Stadium. Gruden had insulted a member of the Glazer household, which owns the staff, in a 2015 message. Gruden additionally misplaced his endorsement cope with the footwear and attire firm Skechers and was taken out of the Madden NFL 22 online game.

He additionally could have broken his relationship with one among his former gamers on the Raiders, Carl Nassib, who in June turned the primary lively N.F.L. participant to publicly say that he’s homosexual. Gruden used a derogatory time period in writing that Goodell had pressured the Rams to draft Michael Sam, a homosexual participant chosen in 2014. Nassib requested a private day and didn’t be part of the Raiders at apply when the staff gathered for the primary time after Gruden left.

Gruden apologized in an announcement the evening he resigned, saying that he “by no means meant to harm anybody.”

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