Jon Gruden has sued the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell for a “malicious and orchestrated campaign” which included damaging leaked emails and ultimately led to his resignation as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. The lawsuit says the NFL and Goodell “sought to destroy the career and reputation” of Gruden.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the lawsuit was filed on Thursday in Clark County District Court by Gruden’s attorney, Adam Hosmer-Henner.
Gruden is seeking damages on seven claims, as well as punitive damages and attorneys’ fees.
Gruden resigned as head coach of the Raiders in October after emails from a decade ago were leaked. The emails contained anti-gay slurs, racially insensitive language, and misogynistic remarks.
“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 states. “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.”
Gruden’s attorney issued a statement on the lawsuit.
Gruden’s lawsuit refers to it as “a Soviet-style character assassination. There was no warning and no process. Defendants held the emails for months until they were leaked to the national media in the middle of the Raiders’ season … to cause maximum damage to Gruden.”
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) November 12, 2021
Gruden came under after the first batch of emails included racially insensitive language, but many across the league and on television defended the former head coach.
Once the second batch of emails was leaked, Gruden agreed to resign.