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Report: Bruce Allen, Jeff Pash Emails Show Insensitive Comments, Close Relationship

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVOctober 15, 2021

Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The NFL's investigation into workplace misconduct by the Washington Football Team's front office has already led to the resignation of former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden, but the "cozy" relationship between former Washington president Bruce Allen and NFL general counsel Jeff Pash was highlighted in the most recent report by Ken Belson and Katherine Rosman of the New York Times.

Emails between the two sent from 2009 to 2018 were part of the 650,000 messages gathered for the league's investigation. 

They reveal a close friendship with Allen and Pash giving each other gifts, exchanging racially insensitive comments, complaining about the NFL's efforts to improve player safety and helping each other out in various situations.

What's more, Pash—who was often responsible for investigating Washington—told Allen that "I know that you are on it and would not condone something untoward" in reference to allegations of sexual harassment of the team's cheerleaders.

Pash shared Allen's frustration when the NFL hired Jocelyn Moore, a Black woman who worked for several Democratic senators, as a lobbyist, saying that "it can sometimes look that way" when asked by Allen if there was a rule "against hiring Libertarians, Independents or even a Republican?”

Allen later said, "We have the Rooney rule …. So I'm going to propose a Lincoln Rule at the next meeting."

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Pash also defended the Washington Football Team's former name, a slur of Native Americans, and joked about a song the franchise used to attract Latino fans by saying, "I am not sure this song will be as popular after the wall gets built."

Outside of the racially insensitive emails, Pash helped rescind a $15,000 penalty the league levied against the Washington Football Team for manipulating the injury report and told Allen not to worry about NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell accusing him of breaking rules in free agency.

"Communication between league office employees and club executives occurs on a daily basis," NFL executive vice president of communications Jeff Miller said in a statement Thursday. "Jeff Pash is a respected and high-character N.F.L. executive. Any effort to portray these emails as inappropriate is either misleading or patently false."

This comes after Belson and Rosman's previous report revealed Gruden used racist, anti-gay and misogynistic language in emails he sent from 2011 to 2018. Gruden, who has since resigned, used anti-gay language to describe Goodell and Michael Sam and suggested the NFL encouraged the St. Louis Rams to select Sam in the 2014 NFL draft.

Sam publicly came out as gay prior to the draft.

Jeff Fisher, who was the head coach of the Rams at the time, said the NFL never encouraged him to pick Sam. He also explained he never drafted a player based on sexual orientation.

Gruden also complained about players protesting systemic racism and police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem, disparaged women working as referees, and exchanged emails with Allen featuring pictures of topless women.

Andrew Beaton of the Wall Street Journal reported the former coach also used a racist trope to describe NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith, who is Black.

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