Sports | October 13, 2021 12:26 pm

Report: NFL Possessed Bombshell Jon Gruden Emails for Months and Didn’t Act

The league uncovered Gruden's emails over the summer before its investigation into the Washington Football Team had concluded

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell looks on before the Las Vegas Raiders play
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell looks on before the Las Vegas Raiders played on October 4.
Sean M. Haffey/Getty

As more and more details emerge about how and why the bombshell emails that led to former Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden resigning on Monday night before he could be fired, the NFL continues to look worse and worse.

Per a new report from The Wall Street Journal, the league had possession of Gruden’s inflammatory emails, which contained racist, sexist and homophobic content and also mocked NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, for months before they began to leak out over the weekend.

The NFL uncovered Gruden’s emails, which were mostly with former Washington Football Team executive Bruce Allen and were sent long before Gruden was hired by the Raiders, over the summer while investigating the D.C.-based franchise and owner Daniel Snyder for workplace misconduct. The offensive emails between Gruden and Allen were part of a trove of more than 650,000 that the league received in June as the investigation into the Washington Football Team was wrapping up.

“League officials found the emails troubling, but it was determined that they were outside the scope of the original probe of the Washington Football Team, which had been known as the Redskins until 2020 until that name was changed under pressure,” per The Journal. “So while the league wrapped up the Washington investigation—and fined the team a record $10 million—it launched a separate investigation of the emails. By last week, however, the league had not yet acted on what it found in the emails.”

The league allegedly planned to present the findings of its investigation into the emails to the Raiders at a meeting that had not yet been scheduled at the time the contents of the crude correspondence started to leak out. Those leaks, which the NFL is on the record claiming it had nothing to do with, led to Gruden being out of football without that meeting ever having to take place. It also led to the NFL not having to publicly admit (by holding a meeting presenting its findings from the email investigation) that it had known about Gruden’s offensive views and conduct for months without doing anything about it and allowing him to continue to coach football games. (Which he did on Sunday even after he’d been revealed to be a racist via a leaked email on Friday.)

With Gruden gone and the investigation into his chats with Allen now a moot point, no other current team or NFL employees are under investigation by the league related to the trove of 650,000 emails, people familiar with the matter told The Journal. And, for now, the league said it has no “current plans” to release all the WFT materials.

Gruden is out. Snyder, somehow, is safe. And the NFL gets to keep perpetuating the image it stands against racism, sexism and homophobia even though it did nothing to combat those issues for months when presented with the chance.