Jon Gruden Sues NFL for 'Malicious and Orchestrated Campaign', Says Resignation Was Forced

Former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden filed a lawsuit against the NFL and the league's commissioner Roger Goodell for a "malicious and orchestrated campaign," to have him resign after private emails showed Gruden using racist and other offensive language.

According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, Gruden's lawsuit stated that "Through a malicious and orchestrated campaign, the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell sought to destroy the career and reputation of Jon Gruden, the former head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders."

The lawsuit also claimed that Gruden was "forced to resign," according to the Las Vegas Review Journal.

In a statement sent to ESPN, Gruden's attorney, Adam Hosmer-Henner of McDonald Carano, said, "The complaint alleges that 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."

The statement continued, "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."

NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy said in a statement sent to ESPN that Gruden's allegations against the league and Goodell "entirely meritless" and said that the NFL "will vigorously defend against these claims."

Newsweek reached out to the NFL for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Gruden resigned from his post with the Raiders in early October after the Wall Street Journal first reported on emails from 2018, in which Gruden used racist language to refer to NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith.

The New York Times also published a report a few days later, including several other emails that Gruden sent. In one email, Gruden referred to Goodell as a "clueless anti-football pussy," and a "f*****." Some other emails showed Gruden calling Michael Sam, who is openly gay, a "queer" while another showed him criticizing former NFL safety Eric Reid for kneeling during the National Anthem.

Gurden announced his resignation shortly after the emails were leaked and in a statement said, "I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction. Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff, and fans of Raider Nation. I'm sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone."

Following his resignation, Gruden's name was removed from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Ring of Honor and EA Sports announced that it was removing the coach from its Madden NFL 22 game.

Jon Gruden
Former Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden filed a lawsuit against the NFL on Thursday, November 12, 2021, claiming that his resignation was forced. Above, Gruden reacts on the sideline during a game against the Chicago Bears at Allegiant Stadium on October 10, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ethan Miller/Getty