Jon Gruden’s tenure at the helm of the Las Vegas Raiders came to an end last month after a handful of emails from his time as an analyst for ESPN became public and showed him using racist and homophobic language. Now, Gruden has decided to take the league and its commissioner to court over allegations that he lost his job due to a “Soviet-style character assassination.”
According to a lawsuit filed in Clark County District Court on Thursday, the NFL and Roger Goodell are being sued for “a malicious and orchestrated campaign” that “sought to destroy the career and reputation of Jon Gruden.” The now-former coach’s lawyer released a statement to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, pointing out that Gruden’s emails were the only ones out of the entire 650,000 that the league collected as part of his investigation into the Washington Football Team that were made public.
Statement below from Jon Gruden’s attorney, Adam Hosmer-Henner, who filed the complaint Thursday in Clark County, Nevada court. Gruden is seeking damages on seven claims, as well as punitive damages and attorneys’ fees. pic.twitter.com/FsRocrutd2
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) November 12, 2021
Gruden used racist language in one email to describe NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith during the time of the 2011 NFL lockout, while others included homophobic slurs being used to describe Goodell and former Rams and Cowboys Michael Sam, who was the first openly gay player to get drafted.
While the Raiders did not fire Gruden as the result of these emails, the lawsuit alleges that the “Defendants ratcheted up the pressure by intimating that further documents would become public if Gruden was not fired. They followed through with this threat by leaking another batch of documents to the New York Times for an October 11, 2021 article.” Gruden was hired by the Raiders in 2018, his second stint as the franchise’s head coach, and compiled a 22-31 record before his resignation.