The Union Democrat

Raiders ex-coach Gruden sues NFL, Goodell

- By BRIAN FONSECA

Former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden, who resigned from his position last month after years of emails containing homophobic, sexist and racist insults surfaced, is suing the NFL and Commission­er Roger Goodell, according to a report from the Las Vegas Review-journal.

In the 21-page complaint, Gruden’s lawyers say he was “forced to resign.”

“Through a malicious and orchestrat­ed campaign, the NFL and Commission­er Roger Goodell sought to destroy the career and reputation of Jon Gruden, the former head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders,” the lawsuit filed Thursday in Clark County District Court stated, according to the Las Vegas Review-journal.

“When their initial salvo did not result in Gruden’s firing or resignatio­n, Defendants ratcheted up the pressure by intimating that further documents would become public if Gruden was not fired,” the lawsuit stated. “They followed through with this threat by leaking another batch of documents to the New York Times for an October 11, 2021 article. On October 7, 2021, Jon Gruden was the head coach of the Raiders on a 10-year, $100-million contract. By October 11, 2021, he had been forced to resign.”

The NFL denied all charges in a statement issued to Profootbal­ltalk.

“The allegation­s are entirely meritless and the NFL will vigorously defend against these claims,” NFL spokesman Brian Mccarthy said in a statement issued to PFT on Friday.

The beginning of Gruden’s downfall in Las Vegas which culminated in his resigning came when a report surfaced about an email Gruden sent 10 years ago insulting NFLPA president Demaurice Smith. Gruden apologized for the email following Sunday’s loss to the Chicago Bears.

A week later, another re

port from the New York Times put a spotlight on more of Gruden's old emails, which included homophobic remarks targeted at Goodell.

According to the New York Times: Gruden “casually and frequently unleashed misogynist­ic and homophobic language over several years to denigrate people around the game and to mock some of the league's momentous changes.

“He denounced the emergence of women as referees, the drafting of a gay player and the tolerance of players protesting during the playing of the national anthem ...”

According to ESPN'S Adam Schefter, Raiders owner Mark Davis met with Gruden on Monday and the two sides decided to part ways. The Raiders were 3-2 on the season and coming off two consecutiv­e losses at the time.

More New York Times: “In the emails, Gruden called the league's commission­er, Roger Goodell, a “faggot” and a “clueless anti football pussy” and said that Goodell should not have pressured Jeff Fisher, then the coach of the Rams, to draft “queers,” a reference to Michael Sam, a gay player chosen by the team in 2014.”

The Times adds: “Taken together, the emails provide an unvarnishe­d look into the clubby culture of one N.F.L. circle of peers, where white male decision makers felt comfortabl­e sharing pornograph­ic images, deriding the league policies, and jocularly sharing homophobic language.”

In 2018, Gruden agreed to a 10-year, $100 million contract to return to the Raiders. He won a Super Bowl during his seven seasons with the Bucs (2002-08), after spending his first four head-coaching campaigns with the Raiders (1998-2001). Gruden has a 117-111 record as a head coach and was 22-31 in his reunion tour with the Raiders.

Gruden, a former Monday Night Football commentato­r, had former colleagues, Mike Tirico and Tony Dungy, defend him on NBC'S Sunday Night Football telecast, regarding his initial email that featured insults about Smith. Now, Gruden's outing comes as his former show — Monday Night Football — airs the Indianapol­is Colts' battle with the Baltimore Ravens.

 ?? Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images /TNS ?? Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden looks on during warm ups prior to their game against the Atlanta Falcons at MercedesBe­nz Stadium on Nov. 29, 2020, in Atlanta, Georgia.
Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images /TNS Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden looks on during warm ups prior to their game against the Atlanta Falcons at MercedesBe­nz Stadium on Nov. 29, 2020, in Atlanta, Georgia.

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