Congressional Committee to Probe the NFL’s Handling of Gruden Email Scandal

The House Oversight and Reform Committee sent a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday

Roger Goodell watches a game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Chicago Bears
Roger Goodell watches a game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Chicago Bears.
Ronald Martinez/Getty

On the same day it was reported that disgraced NFL coach Jon Gruden told HBO that “the truth will come out” with regard to the NFL’s email scandal, it appears the House Oversight and Reform Committee is going to do its best to make that happen.

In a letter addressed to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell that was sent on Thursday, the Congressional committee requested extensive documents from the league and said it wanted to obtain information regarding the league’s investigation into the Washington Football Team (WFT) which led to the emails that got Gruden fired being leaked out.

“The NFL has one of the most prominent platforms in America, and its decisions can have national implications,” per the NFL’s letter. “The NFL’s lack of transparency about the problems it recently uncovered raise questions about the seriousness with which it has addressed bigotry, racism, sexism, and homophobia — setting a troubling precedent for other workplaces. The Committee is seeking to fully understand this workplace conduct and the league’s response, which will help inform legislative efforts to address toxic work environments and workplace investigation processes; strengthen protections for women in the workplace; and address the use of nondisclosure agreements to prevent the disclosure of unlawful employment practices, including sexual harassment. We hope and trust that the NFL shares the Committee’s goal of protecting American workers from harassment and discrimination.”

While there’s no way to know exactly how the NFL will respond to the request from committee chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, it seems more than possible that the league will turn over the 650,000 emails it gathered (but kept secret except for leaks) during the course of investigating the workplace culture in Washington with Daniel Snyder in place as the owner of the D.C. franchise.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league has received the letter and shares the committee’s “concern that all workplaces should be free from any form of harassment and discrimination,” per The Associated Press. “We look forward to speaking to her office soon,” he said.

The conversations the NFL has with the Oversight Committee and the information the league turns over could have a major impact on Snyder and his football team. Of course, as we learned with what happened with Gruden, whatever comes out as a result of the request from Congress could have a major impact on a team, or teams, outside of the Beltway.

The Oversight Committee requested a response by November 4, so the clock is ticking for the NFL to make its play.

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