LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Clark County district court judge sided with former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden on Thursday, allowing his lawsuit against the NFL to continue as the league appeals a previous ruling to the Supreme Court of Nevada.
Judge Nancy Allf denied a motion from the league to pause discovery in Gruden’s case amid the NFL’s appeal to the high court.
Lawyers for the NFL filed their appeal on Thursday. Judge Allf’s ruling issued last Wednesday denied the NFL’s request for arbitration in Gruden’s lawsuit against the league.
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.
“The only conceivable ‘harm’ Gruden could face if the stay is granted is a delay in litigation
proceedings — a ‘harm’ Nevada state courts have repeatedly found to be insufficient to defeat a
stay,” NFL lawsuits wrote in their motion filed before the hearing. “The NFL parties, by contrast, will suffer irreparable harm — the loss of their bargained-for benefits of arbitration — if the stay is denied.”
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.
Gruden’s comments came under fire last fall after the first email was made public and revealed Gruden wrote emails complaining about then-head of the NFL’s Players Association, DeMaurice Smith, who is Black, to Bruce Allen, then with the Washington Football Team, that “Dumboriss Smith has lips the size of Michelin tires.”
Gruden filed the lawsuit against the NFL and its commissioner, Roger Goodell, in November 2021, over what he called his “forced” resignation the month before. Lawyers for the league have claimed Gruden “consistently” sent “derogatory emails” while he led the team, court filings the 8 News Now Investigators reviewed this summer indicated.
Allf wrote in her ruling last week that the NFL Constitution, not Gruden’s settlement with the Raiders or the league, does not specify the issue would need to be settled through arbitration.
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.
The discovery process could also reveal other information the NFL seeks to keep confidential.