NFL Files Motion to Dismiss Ex-Raiders HC Jon Gruden's Lawsuit, Denies Leaking Emails

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 20, 2022

Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden leaves after speaking during a news conference after an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

The NFL has filed a motion to dismiss former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden's lawsuit against the league and commissioner Roger Goodell, which alleges that the league intentionally leaked the racist, anti-gay and misogynistic emails that eventually led to his midseason resignation.

Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post, Michael McCann of Sportico and Mark Maske of the Washington Post provided more information:

Nicki Jhabvala @NickiJhabvala

The NFL claims that Gruden’s “kitchen sink complaint” painted himself as “the victim in a fictional story.”<br><br>“To be sure, the NFL and the Commissioner did not leak Gruden’s emails,” it adds. <a href="https://t.co/BuqQi7esvJ">pic.twitter.com/BuqQi7esvJ</a>

Michael McCann @McCannSportsLaw

The NFL moves to dismiss Jon Gruden's lawsuit, ridiculing it as illogical and devoid of plausible legal claims. Stay tuned for a story on <a href="https://twitter.com/Sportico?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Sportico</a>. <a href="https://t.co/4kt02lkJDo">pic.twitter.com/4kt02lkJDo</a>

MarkMaske @MarkMaske

The NFL, in its response to Jon Gruden's lawsuit, denies leaking Gruden's emails, write that the emails became public "through no fault of the NFL Parties."

MarkMaske @MarkMaske

The NFL write in its response to Jon Gruden's lawsuit: "To be sure, the NFL and the Commissioner did not leak Gruden’s emails."

MarkMaske @MarkMaske

From the NFL response: "In sum, to the extent that Jon Gruden suffered any damage, he has no one to blame but himself. For the reasons set forth above and in detail below, the Complaint should be dismissed in<br>its entirety."

Per Ben Shpigel of the New York Times, Gruden filed a lawsuit with the Eighth Judicial District Court in Clark County, Nevada in November, alleging that the league took part in "a malicious and orchestrated campaign" against the 58-year-old and accusing them of "a Soviet-style character assassination."

"The suit accuses the N.F.L. and Goodell of intentionally leaking the emails to The Times and The Wall Street Journal during the middle of the Raiders’ season to inflict 'maximum damage' to Gruden," Shpigel wrote.

Gruden resigned on Oct. 11 after leading Las Vegas to a 3-2 start in the fourth season of his second stint with the franchise.

The emails were part of the NFL's investigation into the workplace culture of the Washington Football Team following accusations by former female employees of sexual harassment and verbal abuse within the organization.

Some of his Gruden's emails, which largely occurred in the 2010s prior to his time coaching the Raiders, were sent to ex-WFT president Bruce Allen. Gruden and Allen previously worked together for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2004-08.

Regarding the lawsuit, NFL vice president of communications Brian McCarthy said in a statement to Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio that "the allegations are entirely meritless and the NFL will vigorously defend against these claims."

It's unclear how the emails leaked, though the Gruden findings led to more calls for the NFL to unveil everything related to the investigation. Notably, former WFT employees—who the league said it was protecting by not releasing complete findings—have been vocal in their requests that the league makes public its findings.

The league's punishment to Washington included a $10 million fine.