Sports | October 15, 2021 12:28 pm

Bombshell NFL Emails Include League’s Top Lawyer Messaging About Hooters

Emails between longtime league lawyer Jeff Pash and ex-Washington Football Team president Bruce Allen have leaked

Jeff Pash address the media in 2011 in New Orleans
The NFL's general counsel Jeff Pash addresses the media in 2011 in New Orleans.
Sean Gardner/Getty Images

The same NFL executive who was on the receiving end of cringe-worthy emails from Jon Gruden also had frequent correspondence with a longtime league lawyer who may end up joining the disgraced former NFL head coach in the ranks of the unemployed.

Among the 650,000 emails that the league has in its possession to aid in its since-concluded investigation into the Washington Football Team’s workplace are multiple messages between the league’s general counsel Jeff Pash and former WFT general manager and president Bruce Allen, according to to The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

In their emails, Pash and Allen discussed topics including politics, Washington’s cheerleading scandal, diversity and inclusion, the team’s controversial former nickname and Hooters. As in, the restaurant. Specifically, the one at FedEx Field outside of D.C.

Allen apparently had pull with the restaurant chain (“known for the skimpy outfits of its wait staff” per The Times) because it was co-founded by his friend Edward C. Droste. (Along with Allen, Droste was on the list of recipients for topless emails of Washington cheerleaders sent by Gruden.)

“PS — The Hooters at Fedex Field has been reserved for the post-game celebration,” Allen wrote to Pash in 2011. A year later following the league penalized Washington for violating league spending limits, Allen asked to speak with Pash and was promised by the league official that he was not being blown off. Hearing this, Allen thanked Pash, possibly with more than an email. “We may not see this the same way,” Pash replied. “But that does not change my respect or affection for you. After all, nobody else has ever given me a Hooters VIP card.”

Pash may want to keep that Hooters card in a safe place as he may have some time to kill fairly soon depending on whether more emails continue to leak out. (We’re guessing they will.) For now, he sounds safe.

“Communication between league office employees and club executives occurs on a daily basis,” NFL’s executive VP of communications Jeff Miller told The Times and The Journal. “Jeff Pash is a respected and high-character NFL executive. Any effort to portray these emails as inappropriate is either misleading or patently false.”

Not everyone feels the same way.

“At a minimum, his emails show a too-cozy relationship with Allen, the kind of relationship that could undermine the competitive integrity of the league,” Mike Florio writes for ProFootballTalk. “Setting aside for now (but not for long) whether decisions about concealing the emails were aimed at protecting Pash, the problem remains that the documents are not fully concealed. They’ve become weaponized, and the weapon has been used twice in less than a week. Someone wanted Gruden out. They got their wish. Someone wanted to at least discredit and at most destroy Pash. The former has happened; the latter still could.”

And Hooters will have a bar stool ready if it does.