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NFL - Former Raiders' coach Gruden sues NFL, commissioner Goodell - Metro US

NFL – Former Raiders’ coach Gruden sues NFL, commissioner Goodell

FILE PHOTO: Las Vegas Raiders' head coach Jon Gruden

(Reuters) – Former Las Vegas Raiders’ coach Jon Gruden has filed a lawsuit against the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell, claiming he was the victim of a “malicious” campaign to destroy his career when offensive emails he sent were leaked to the press.

The Wall Street Journal and New York Times last month reported Gruden used racist, misogynistic and homophobic language in emails that were uncovered during an investigation into the treatment of women working for the Washington Football Team.

Gruden resigned five games in to the fourth season of a 10-year, $100 million contract, saying he did not want to be a distraction and that he never meant to hurt anyone with the emails, which were sent between 2011 and 2018.

In the legal filing, Gruden’s attorneys claim he was the victim of “Soviet-style character assassination.”

“Through a malicious and orchestrated campaign, the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell sought to destroy the career and reputation of Jon Gruden,” said the lawsuit, which was filed on Thursday in Clark County District Court in Nevada.

“The defendants selectively leaked Gruden’s private correspondence to the Wall Street Journal and New York Times in order to harm Gruden’s reputation and force him out of his job,” his attorney Adam Hosmer-Henner said in a statement.

“There is no explanation or justification for why Gruden’s emails were the only ones made public out of the 650,000 emails collected in the NFL’s investigation of the Washington Football Team or for why the emails were held for months before being released in the middle of the Raiders’ season.”

The NFL denied any wrongdoing.

“The allegations are entirely meritless and the NFL will vigorously defend against these claims,” a spokesman said in a statement to Reuters.

Former Washington Football Team employees last month called on the league to make public the findings of its investigation, which led to a $10 million fine in July against the team.

The NFL said it released a summary of the findings as opposed to a lengthy written report in an effort to protect the anonymity of those who came forward.

(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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