NFL files to dismiss lawsuit from disgraced coach forced to resign over homophobic emails

A picture of Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden during a game against the Chicago Bears

The National Football League (NFL) has filed to dismiss former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden’s lawsuit regarding the leak of his homophobic, misogynistic and racist emails.

In bombshell revelations published last October, The New York Times reported Gruden had used offensive language in numerous emails between 2011 and 2018.

In one of them, Gruden called NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a “f****t” and “clueless anti-football p***y”.

He also criticised Goodell for supposedly pressuring the St Louis Rams – which drafted openly gay player Michael Sam in 2014 – to hire “queers”.

Carl Nassib #94 of the Las Vegas Raiders is greeted by head coach Jon Gruden. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Jon Gruden was working as an ESPN commentator at the time before rejoining the Raiders on a 10-year deal in 2018. He had previously worked as coach of the Raiders, who were located in Oakland at the time, from 1998 to 2001.

A new filing in Nevada state court saw the NFL argue that Gruden’s lawsuit shouldn’t go to court because they claimed to have evidence that the disgraced coach sent messages featuring hate-filled language to at least six people.

It had previously been reported that offensive language had only been used in the messages sent to former Washington Football Team president Bruce Allen.

The NFL’s legal team suggested that league commissioner Roger Goodell would have unilaterally fired Gruden due to the messages if the former coach hadn’t resigned.

A hearing will be held on the motions filed by the NFL and Jon Gruden on 23 February.

Carl Nassib openly gay NFL player flexes while smiling

Carl Nassib, the first openly gay NFL player, flexes while smiling before a game between the Las Vegas Raiders and the Denver Broncos on 15 November 2020. (Getty/Ethan Miller)

According to The Athletic, the filing read: “Jon Gruden sent a variety of similarly abhorrent emails to a half dozen recipients over a seven-year period, in which he denounced ‘the emergence of women as referees’ and frequently used homophobic and sexist slurs to refer to commissioner Goodell, then-vice president Joseph Biden, a gay professional football player drafted in 2014, and others.”

Gruden has apologised for his emails, saying he “never meant to hurt anyone”. He also claimed that he is “not a racist” and apologised for his “insensitive remarks”.

However, Gruden filed to sue the league in November and claimed that the emails were leaked in order to hurt him because of offensive things he had written about Goodell.

The NFL fought back again this claim in their filing as they wrote: “This action – brought by Jon Gruden to blame anyone but himself for the fallout from the publication of racist, homophobic and misogynistic emails that he wrote and broadly circulated – belongs in arbitration under the clear terms of Gruden’s employment contract and the NFL’s constitution and bylaws to which Gruden is bound.”

The Raiders currently employ the only active openly gay NFL player, Carl Nassib, who came out publicly in 2021.