LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The NFL could suffer if former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden’s lawsuit against it continues amid an appeal to the Supreme Court of Nevada, the league’s attorneys wrote in a new filing the 8 News Now Investigators reviewed Thursday.
Two weeks ago, District Court Judge Nancy Allf denied a motion from the NFL to pause discovery in Gruden’s case amid the NFL’s appeal to the high court. Allf’s ruling issued Oct. 20 denies the NFL’s request for arbitration in Gruden’s lawsuit against the league.
Gruden resigned from the Raiders on Oct. 11, 2021, after emails surfaced showing he used racist, misogynistic and homophobic comments. A New York Times investigation revealed Gruden had not only used racist comments in an email in 2011, but had regularly used derogatory language in emails during his employment with ESPN.
“Over nearly a decade, Gruden sent e-mails expressing racist, homophobic, and misogynistic views,” NFL lawyers said in their latest filing. “Among other things, Gruden’s e-mails used racial tropes to describe the executive director of the NFL Players Association, who is Black, and frequently used homophobic slurs. In October 2021, while Gruden was head coach of the Raiders, certain of the e-mails were obtained by the news media from an anonymous source and were published.”
The NFL lawyers deny Gruden’s “unsupported speculation” that the NFL and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell were the source of the leak.
“Nevertheless, Gruden seeks to hold defendants responsible for his resignation from the Raiders,” the filing said.
Gruden received $60 million of his $100 million “record-setting” contract with the Raiders at the time of his resignation, lawyers for the NFL said. The NFL also said Gruden settled with the Raiders “for an additional undisclosed sum.”
Lawyers for the NFL argue the NFL Constitution and Gruden’s contract contain arbitration provisions, meaning issues would be resolved in private on the league’s terms.
Lawyers for the NFL are pushing to settle Gruden’s lawsuit through arbitration — and not the public process of discovery. That process would likely reveal how and who leaked Gruden’s emails and other business-related information.
Gruden’s lawyers have argued he is no longer under the NFL’s preview and that Goodell himself would be the arbitrator.
Judge Allf’s ruling issued last Wednesday denied the NFL’s request for arbitration in Gruden’s lawsuit against the league. The discovery process could also reveal other information the NFL seeks to keep confidential.
The lawyers argue the Supreme Court of Nevada has a history of overturning district court denials in similar circumstances.
Gruden signed a $100 million contract with the then-Oakland Raiders in 2018. According to the lawsuit, he is not being paid the remaining balance on the contract, which runs through 2027. His lawyers also write Gruden is losing out on endorsement deals, including one with footwear company Skechers.
“I’m ashamed about what has come about in these emails, and I’ll make no excuses for it,” Gruden said during an event in Arkansas in late August. “It’s shameful, but I am a good person, I believe that. I go to church. I’ve been married for 31 years. I got three great boys. I still love football. I made some mistakes, but I don’t think anybody else in here hasn’t — and I just ask for forgiveness, and hopefully, I get another shot.”
It was unclear Thursday when the state supreme court would issue its ruling on the league’s appeal.