Sometimes, people say or do awful things that preclude them from public life. However, a recent trend in cancel culture is to find a target and search until some kind of dirt is dug up for their humiliation — is this what happened here?
Los Angeles Raiders coach Jon Gruden resigned after decades-old emails containing offensive language were released to the press, the New York Post reported. Now Gruden is suing the NFL and its commissioner Roger Goodell “selectively leaking” them.
The emails were from the period 2011 to 2018 while Gruden was still an ESPN announcer and before he came to the franchise as coach for the second time. In them, Gruden had used a homophobic slur to describe Goodell and made another disparaging reference to Michael Sam, the first openly gay player in the NFL.
These emails were unearthed as part of a separate investigation into Washington Football Team president Bruce Allen. Gruden had sent them to Allen but have no relevance to that investigation. Nevertheless, they have cost Gruden his livelihood.
Gruden’s legal team believes this was intentional. “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,” a statement from Adam Hosmer-Henner, an attorney representing Gruden, said.
“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 lawsuit alleges. “In contrast to the formalities of the Washington Football Team investigation, Defendants’ treatment of Gruden was a Soviet-style character assassination,” the legal filing charges.
It’s unknown what other information may have been uncovered through those hundreds of thousands of emails from untold numbers of senders. However, it does seem unlikely that Gruden’s would be the only incriminating correspondence — and that would mean he was targeted.