The NFL is pushing back against the lawsuit filed by former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden, alleging that his habit of sending "derogatory" emails wasn't limited to his time away from the league in 2011 to 2018.
According to Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio, the NFL suggested that Gruden "consistently" continued to send such emails even after he was hired as Raiders head coach.
Gruden resigned from his position last October after a bombshell report from the New York Times revealed multiple emails from Gruden that included racist, misogynistic and anti-gay language. The emails, which were sent while Gruden worked for ESPN as an analyst on Monday Night Football, were discovered during the NFL's investigation into the Washington Commanders' workplace culture as they were sent to Bruce Allen, who was a member of the team's front office at the time.
Gruden filed a lawsuit against the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell in November, claiming that the leak of the emails was "a malicious and orchestrated campaign" to "destroy [his] career and reputation." The 59-year-old alleges that he was "forced to resign" for something that occurred while he wasn't employed by an NFL team.
In May, the court ruled that the case should not be sent to arbitration. The NFL's lawyers submitted a court filing last week disputing the accuracy of Gruden's claims, per David Charns of CBS 8 in Las Vegas.
"In several places, Gruden’s proposed order states that the emails were 'sent between 2011 and 2018, during which time Gruden was not working as a coach in the NFL but as an employee of ESPN.' 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. Discovery—necessary to make any finding of fact on this issue—will show that Gruden continued to send the same kinds of derogatory emails consistently following his start date with the Raiders."
Per Florio, Gruden's lawyers are pushing back against the NFL's insinuation as they believe the league "has blown its window to bolster a failed argument that the case should be resolved in arbitration."
"The NFL did not make these unsubstantiated arguments in the motions they already lost and will not be able to make them if they appeal," Gruden’s attorney, Adam Hosmer-Henner, said in a statement on Monday. "In fact, their own attorney conceded during the hearing that the emails were sent before Jon Gruden signed with the Raiders."
If the case continues in court and doesn't go to arbitration, there is an increased chance that the new emails discovered by the league will be the backbone of its defense, but they will be considered "after-acquired evidence." There's also still a possibility that Gruden agrees to arbitration in hopes of keeping these new emails under wraps.