NFL denies being the source of the Jon Gruden email leaks

Sep 19, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden looks on from the sidelines against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Las Vegas won 26-17. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, an email surfaced with racist remarks by Jon Gruden that rocked the NFL world. John Gruden resigned as head coach of the Los Vegas Raiders when more personal emails were made public this week, including racist, sexist and homophobic language. The John Gruden leaks have surfaced as an NFL investigation into the Washington Football Team’s toxic work environment. 

As a result of the investigation, the league checked more than 650,000 emails. Among them were inappropriate emails between Jon Gruden and then Washington Football Team president Bruce Allen. Interestingly, these emails were leaked to the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times before the NFL could announce the full findings of the investigation. While the investigation resulted from a probe into the work environment in Washington under Dan Snyder, details outside of Gruden and Allen are not available. 

After the conclusion of their probe, The NFL fined Washington owner Dan Snyder $10 million and removed him from day-to-day operations. Conveniently, Gruden and Allen are the only two high-ranking NFL figures the leaks have affected so far. 

Potential issues for the NFL in the wake of Gruden leaks

NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy told Pro Football Talk that they had no part in leaking any emails. However, this may broach more questions than it answers. Due to the confidential nature of the emails, few people in the NFL have access to them. This would mean a very high-ranking leaker if the NFL is not itself responsible. 

The fact that there are not more names along with Allen and Gruden is troubling, something Yahoo!Sports columnist Dan Wetzel oberved.

“The fact the NFL went through some 650,000 emails and he is the only person to have his communications leak has to rank as an astounding, if not troubling, coincidence. Of course, in some of those emails he blasted NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, including with the use of ugly slurs.”

Dan Wetzel

While the leaks exposed Gruden, they conveniently did not touch ownership or other parts of the Washington Football organization. The NFL will need to address whether the leaks came from the NFL or an unknown source. If the investigation findings become available, we may finally understand the true scope of the scandal. We’ll see if any other names come out of the investigation or through leaks in the coming weeks. 

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