The NFL chose to step into the political arena.
And now they’re paying the price.
And one “canceled” NFL coach just gave the league a huge headache.
Former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden was run out of the league thanks to damaging private emails that he sent over a decade ago while he was working as a broadcaster for ESPN.
In the emails, Gruden made insensitive remarks with a friend that was never meant for public consumption, but his true “crime” was taking shots at NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
The strategic leaks forced Gruden to resign as coach of the Raiders, but he’s striking back by suing the league.
And a court just ruled that his suit can go to trial.
“A Nevada judge ruled in favor of former Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden on two motions Wednesday, opening the possibility of a jury trial on his ‘tortious interference’ claim that the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell selectively leaked Gruden’s emails to force his removal on Oct. 11. Judge Nancy L. Allf denied the NFL’s motion to compel arbitration as well as the league’s motion to dismiss the case outright. The suit will now go to trial unless a settlement is reached. Allf gave no timeline, though, for the next proceeding. The NFL said in a statement given to multiple media outlets that it would appeal.”
But the NFL is not going down without a fight.
The league responded in a statement:
“We believe Coach Gruden’s claims should have been compelled to arbitration, and we will file an appeal of the Court’s determination. The Court’s denial of our motion to dismiss is not a determination on the merits of Coach Gruden’s lawsuit, which, as we have said from the outset, lacks a basis in law and fact and proceeds from a false premise — neither the NFL nor the Commissioner leaked Coach Gruden’s offensive emails.”
However, Gruden has an argument considering the leaks were the by-product of an NFL investigation into misconduct within the Washington Commanders organization.
Gruden told the media, “I’m just going to let the process take care of itself…It’s good to be back in Vegas. I’m going to see some friends tonight…Go Raiders…The process will all take care of itself.”
If the case goes to trial, it could get ugly for the NFL.
Commissioner Goodell is not well-liked among the owners.
Former Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter revealed in an interview, “Goodell is a coward and he is incompetent and he’s just lucky. Jerry Jones, the owner of the Cowboys, Indra Nooyi with PepsiCo, and Dan Snyder all called me—several other folks—about Goodell’s conduct and the way he was handling this. Jones and Dan Snyder with the Redskins wanted Goodell fired…[T]hey called me and said, ‘You need to take this guy out. You’re the number one sponsor of the league as far as notoriety and acceptance and association. Everybody loves you. They love Peyton. We hate Goodell.”
Schnatter said it wasn’t his job to fire their commissioner, and the NFL has suffered under a tumultuous Goodell reign.