What the Jon Gruden Emails Mean For The NFL

Matt Rushford, Co-Editor in Chief

On October 21st, The House Committee on Oversight and Reform requested that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell provide Congress with more than 650,000 emails obtained from the investigation into the Washington Football Team and its owner Daniel Snyder. The investigation, led by Goodell, was initiated after the Washington Post released a report with 15 female WFT staffers detailing sexual harassment and verbal abuse which took place while working for the team. 

So far, the NFL investigation and Roger Goodell has been very paltry towards WFT, fining them just $10 million dollars last July, while  refusing to release any emails from the investigation. Well, at least that was the case up until a few weeks ago, when multiple reports from the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times detailed conversations between former Las Vegas Raiders head coachJon Gruden and longtime Washington general manager Bruce Allen which included racist, homophobic, and misogynistic remarks. 

So how did an investigation that  was supposed to have damning information about the team entrenched in controversy lead to the firing of a different team’s head coach and former general manager? While it is still somewhat unclear who leaked the emails or why they did it, it’s clear that the NFL has continued to deflect the Washington team from further scrutiny , while refusing to  condemn owner Daniel Snyder regardless of their findings. 

NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, who was targeted in the initial email leaked from Jon Gruden, has demanded the NFL to release the findings of their WFT investigation. Smith, who appeared on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel on Tuesday night, called the NFL “less a corporation than it is a feudal, oligarch system.” 

When asked about the NFL’s knowledge of the WFT emails prior to its leak, Smith acknowledged it was a massive issue. “I love football, and I love the game,” said Smith. “But we should be aspiring to the best nature of ourselves and in our sport and in our business, and I don’t understand how the critical party of that business can be aware of these emails for so long and do nothing about it.” 

The NFL and Roger Goodell certainly do not care whatsoever about doing the right thing when it comes to anything within the District of Columbia. When the ball is in their court (or redzone I guess) no matter how much controversy Snyder can stir in his pot of his, it certainly is a much more favorable position for the NFL than whatever it would take to root out all the other bones in their graveyard. 

So the Gruden emails present a massive issue for the NFL. It suggests they likely have looked over a lot of other problematic emails in an attempt to save their own butts. But when there’s smoke, there’s fire. Now that Jon Gruden has had the misfortune to have his horrible words turned back onto him, the whole NFL is likely on alert that this could happen to them. So all eyes are now on the House Committeeand their efforts to attain WFT’s emails, hopefully exposing the NFL for what it is: a white man’s boys club.