LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Lawyers for the NFL said former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden’s lawsuit against the league should be settled through arbitration because provisions of his contract and the NFL Constitution apply to him as a former employee.
The arbitration issue has made its way to the Nevada Supreme Court. Lawyers for the NFL are appealing a Clark County District Court judge’s ruling siding with Gruden.
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.
Lawyers for the NFL have continued to push 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.
In their 72-page brief filed late Tuesday night, lawyers for the NFL claim the league’s governing documents and Gruden’s contact require the matter to be settled through arbitration before Goodell, documents said.
“The district court’s order denying the motion contravened settled law and the strong public policy in favor of enforcing arbitration agreements,” NFL attorneys wrote in the brief.
The attorneys argue Gruden was aware of the NFL’s arbitration provision as a longtime coach, they said.
“Federal, California, and Nevada public policy squarely favors the arbitration of claims as an alternative to litigation, and here the parties knowingly agreed to arbitrate their claims before the NFL Commissioner,” the NFL lawyers 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.”
A U.S. House Committee report released last year found The Washington Commanders leaked former Gruden’s emails, former Commanders president Bruce Allen told the panel.
“We didn’t do it at the league office,” an NFL executive reportedly told former team president Bruce Allen, according to his testimony, which is provided in the report. “It came out of their side.”
NFL lawyers previously wrote in documents filed in Gruden’s lawsuit against the league, denying Gruden’s “unsupported speculation” that the NFL and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell were the source of the leak, the 8 News Now Investigators reported last month.
Gruden’s lawyers have argued he is no longer under the NFL’s preview and that Goodell himself would be the arbitrator. The district court case is paused as the state supreme court awaits Gruden’s lawyers’ response.