The NFL is facing increasing pressure to release emails collected in the investigation into the Washington Football Team after this week’s revelations about Jon Gruden.
Gruden resigned as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders late Monday after damaging emails were leaked to the New York Times. Those emails were exchanged with former Washington Football Team president Bruce Allen, and the league obtained them through its investigation into Washington’s workplace environment.
The NFL released little material from that investigation at its conclusion. Washington owner Dan Snyder was fined $10 million, but specific findings were not released due to what the league called privacy and sensitivity concerns. In light of the Gruden revelations, however, the NFLPA is now pressuring the league to release the rest of the emails it obtained through the Washington investigation.
“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 Mike Jones of USA Today. Smith, incidentally, was the subject of a racist trope used by Gruden in a 2011 email, which ultimately sparked further scrutiny.
The NFL said through a spokesperson that the league has no plans to release the emails, stating that confidentiality was a key element of the Washington investigation. It is not known if an official request from the NFLPA would change that.
To be clear, it isn’t known what the Washington emails contain, who would be damaged by what is in them, and whether there are damaging revelations within them or not. Rightly or wrongly, the NFL’s decision to keep much of that investigation private has left the door open to questions and speculation. That will only continue to grow in light of what came out about Gruden.