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Gruden’s offensive emails used in court filings by WFT owner Dan Snyder

Some of the vulgar emails that pushed Jon Gruden to resign as coach were filed in court in June by Washington Football Team owner Dan Snyder’s lawyers.

Sep 9, 2018; Glendale, AZ, USA; Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder prior to the game against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. RebilasMark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Several of the obnoxious emails that led to the resignation of Jon Gruden as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders were submitted to a federal court in June by lawyers for Washington Football Team (WFT) owner Daniel Snyder, nearly four months before they made headlines in two newspapers.

The New York Times reported this week that Gruden had used homophobic and misogynistic language in the emails, while the Wall Street Journal last week outlined the racist expressions that he wrote. The emails surfaced as part of an NFL investigation into accounts of misconduct at the workplace of the Washington Football Team. Around 650,000 emails were studied as part of the probe.

Snyder used emails to pressure WFT ex-general manager

Snyder’s attorneys used some of the correspondence as evidence in a court case involving former WFT general manager Bruce Allen, who was fired in 2019. Allen is a recipient and sender of some of the incriminating messages exposed by the New York Times report, including one where he sent half-naked photos of his team’s cheerleaders to Gruden.

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The lawyers submitted the emails to the court in an attempt to force Allen to produce discovery connected to a defamation lawsuit against an Indian media company, for stories that it published last year connecting Snyder to sex trafficking and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Snyder filed the motion in court to cite Allen as a potential source of information for the media company. His attorneys used the emails to demonstrate that Allen had close relationships with journalists who filed stories about the WFT.

Allen's close ties to journalists

Gruden was an an ESPN analyst at the time of the email exchanges.The filings also included messages between Allen and ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The Los Angeles Times reported that in one email, Schefter sent Allen a draft of an NFL story he had written and asked for his feedback on it.

This kind of communication between Allen and media practitioners contradicts his sworn statement that he “maintained a low profile with respect to the media” and “never served as an anonymous source for any news or media reports,” according to the LA Times.

The release of the emails to the court and to the public has exposed the close relationship between Allen and some journalists, and also, ultimately led to the resignation of Gruden. But Allen and Gruden may soon have to make room for at least one more on the hot seat.

Calls for release of other emails

Snyder, for one, is now feeling the pressure himself. The NFL Players Association and lawyers for former WFT employees have called on the NFL to release all the 650,000 emails that formed part of the investigation into workplace misconduct in the WFT, and not just the ones that were prejudicial to Allen and Gruden.

The exposure of Gruden appears to have been collateral damage in the NFL’s investigation into the WFT, but his subsequent resignation may also have jimmied open a Pandora’s box that could potentially expose even more of the darker inner workings of the NFL.