The NFL Players Association said Tuesday it plans to request that the NFL release the remainder of the 650,000 emails reviewed as part of the investigation into workplace misconduct with the Washington Football Team.
Leaked emails from that investigation that showed Jon Gruden used racist, misogynistic and anti-gay language led to the Las Vegas Raiders coach’s resignation Monday night.
“We have had communications with the league, and the NFLPA plans to request that the NFL release the rest of the emails,” NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith told USA Today Sports in a telephone interview.
NFLPA spokesman George Atallah confirmed to ESPN’s Dan Graziano that the union planned to request the emails. An NFL spokesman told USA Today that it had no plans to release those emails for confidentiality reasons.
Attorneys representing 40 former employees of the Washington Football Team also urged the NFL to release the emails.
“It is truly outrageous that after the NFL’s 10-month long investigation involving hundreds of witnesses and 650,000 documents related to the longtime culture of harassment and abuse at the Washington Football Team, the only person to be held accountable and lose their job is the coach of the Las Vegas Raiders,” lawyers Lisa Banks and Debra Katz said in a statement. “If the NFL felt it appropriate to release these offensive emails from Jon Gruden, which it obtained during its investigation into the Washington Football Team, it must also release the findings related to the actual target of that investigation. Our clients and the public at large deserve transparency and accountability. If not, the NFL and (commissioner) Roger Goodell must explain why they appear intent on protecting the Washington Football Team and owner Dan Snyder at all costs.”
One of Gruden’s emails included a racist comment about Smith. On Monday, before Gruden resigned, Smith tweeted that the email and some of the reaction to it “confirms that the fight against racism, racist tropes and intolerance is not over. This is not about an email as much as it is about a pervasive belief by some that people who look like me can be treated as less.”
The NFL completed its investigation into Washington’s workplace culture in July, fining the franchise $10 million. In addition, Tanya Snyder, who was named the team’s co-CEO in June, took over the day-to-day duties of the franchise from her husband Dan and all senior executives, including the Snyders, were ordered to take part in workplace conduct training.
Gruden’s resignation came shortly after The New York Times reported that he used misogynistic and anti-gay language in numerous emails to Bruce Allen, then the president of the Washington Football Team, and others during a seven-year period that ended in 2018. That report came days after 10-year-old emails from Gruden surfaced that included the racist comment about Smith as well as a vulgar criticism of Goodell.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was among NFL players and coaches to react to Gruden’s emails on Tuesday. In his weekly appearance on the Pat McAfee Show, Rodgers said he doesn’t “feel like those are opinions that are shared by players.
“I feel like in the locker room it’s a close-knit group of guys and we don’t treat people differently based on the way that they talk, where they’re from, what they’re into, what they look like. And I’m proud of that.”
Rodgers also said “hopefully we can all as a league learn and grow from this and hopefully it puts people on notice who have some of those same opinions. Like, ‘Hey man, it’s time to grow and evolve and change and connect and that s— doesn’t fly.'”
Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who was on Gruden’s staff with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for four seasons, said Tuesday he was “saddened” by the situation.
“I’m saddened for the Raiders organization. I’m saddened for the people who were offended by it. I’m saddened for coach Gruden. It’s a sad commentary. That’s the only opinion I care to share at this juncture,” he said.
ESPN’s Rob Demovsky contributed to this report.