The NFL filed a motion asking a Nevada court to dismiss former Raiders and Bucs coach Jon Gruden’s lawsuit against the league, saying the accusations that the the NFL leaked Gruden’s old, offensive emails are “baseless” and “should be dismissed for failure to state a single viable cause of action.”
The league responded Wednesday to the suit Gruden filed in district court in Clark County, Nevada, in November. The NFL filed a motion to dismiss the case and also asked the court to stay that motion until it first rules on whether the case should be moved to arbitration.
Gruden, who coached the Bucs from 2002-2008, leading them to their first Super Bowl championship following the 2002 season, resigned as coach of the Raiders in October with more than six seasons remaining on his 10-year, $100 million contract.
He claimed a “malicious and orchestrated campaign” was used by the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell to destroy Gruden’s career by leaking the old emails that included racist, misogynistic and homophobic language.
The emails were sent to former Washington Football Team executive Bruce Allen and others from 2011 to 2018 during Gruden’s time as an announcer at ESPN. The emails came from a set of 650,000 emails obtained by the league in June during an investigation into the workplace culture of the Washington Football Team
The Wall Street Journal reported on Oct. 8 that Gruden used a racist term to describe NFL union chief DeMaurice Smith.
Gruden coached two days later. Then on Oct. 11 the New York Times revealed additional offensive emails.
“Gruden does not, and cannot, dispute that he wrote the published emails. He does not, and cannot, dispute that he sent those emails to multiple parties,” the league’s filing says. “Nor does he claim that they were somehow altered or edited and that the repugnant views espoused in them were not in fact expressed by him. Instead, Gruden filed the instant complaint against the NFL and the commissioner, painting himself as the victim in a fictional story and seeking money through baseless claims against the NFL.”
The league denied leaking the emails which had been sent to up to a half-dozen people and added that Gruden had no “expectation of privacy” for the emails.
The filing said even if the league had leaked the emails it still would not constitute “intentional interference with a contract” as claimed by Gruden because the NFL had no obligation to protect the confidentiality of the emails, had the right to disclose truthful information to the media and could have suspended or canceled Gruden’s contract because of the emails.
Raiders owner Mark Davis said in October he had reached a settlement with Gruden over the final six-plus years of his contract. Davis did not reveal the terms of the settlement.
By JOSH DUBOW AP Pro Football Writer
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