Jon Gruden’s Problematic Emails May Be ‘More Common’ Than You Think, Says Congressman

ASHBURN, Virginia – One of the House Democrats who sent a letter to the NFL requesting more information on its investigation into the work culture of the Washington football team says he is concerned the e – Jon Gruden’s emails are only the “tip of the iceberg”.

Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., Told ESPN the representatives wanted to get involved because the NFL “holds a special place in American life.”

“The way they deal with race and gender issues and the way they treat their employees really influences the way the company deals with those same issues,” Krishnamoorthi said. “We are very interested in knowing more about the exact reasons the NFL did what it did and how it did it.”

Gruden resigned as coach of the Las Vegas Raiders earlier this month following reports that emails he wrote over a span of several years included racist, misogynistic and anti-gay language. . The emails were discovered as part of the Washington Workplace Culture Investigation.

“The biggest fear is that what Jon Gruden seems to be getting into is much more common than what we would otherwise think,” Krishnamoorthi said. “That’s what worries a lot of people.”

Krishnamoorthi and Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, DN.Y., who is chair of the Oversight and Reform Committee, have asked the NFL to turn over a number of documents and answer many questions about the d ‘by November 4.

They haven’t heard from the NFL, Krishnamoorthi said, except to acknowledge receipt of the five-page letter. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email Thursday evening that the league had received the letter and shared Maloney’s “concern that all workplaces should be free from all forms of harassment and of discrimination. We look forward to speaking to his office soon. “

If the NFL chooses not to cooperate, Congress could issue a subpoena. When asked if they would consider suing the league, Krishnamoorthi said: “If the NFL does not cooperate after we have tried to work with them to get their cooperation, then we have the tools to compel the production of documents. But our hope is it doesn’t get there. I hope we can work with them to get this information. “

In the letter, Maloney and Krishnamoorthi said they wanted the NFL to produce “all documents and communications obtained in connection with the investigation into the WFT, its management, its owners and any other matters relating to or resulting from the ‘WFT investigation’. They also want the NFL to detail its role in Lawyer Beth Wilkinson’s investigation into the franchise and why there was no written report after 150 people were interviewed.

“I just don’t know of any investigation where someone isn’t allowed to document what happened or document the findings,” Krishnamoorthi told ESPN, “but that appears to be what happened. past here. There is a great deal of evidence that she has examined that others examined that also does not surface in one way or another. “

Tom Davis served as Chairman of the House Oversight Committee from 2003 to 2007 and was the committee’s rank minority member during the 2008 Congressional Inquiry into the steroid problem in baseball. He said he was able to bring this issue to a hearing because he had bipartisan support in the House and because the target was more than a single player or a single team.

“Members will want to know why Congress is getting involved and, if so, why are they choosing a team,” said Davis. “It’s not unique to the Washington football team. It’s all over the sport. It’s all over the locker rooms and college campuses.

“To get to the floor of the House, you have to be wider than the Washington football team.”

The representatives letter also raised concerns about the non-disclosure agreements former employees had signed and requested more information on the role of NFL General Counsel Jeff Pash in the investigation.

“The biggest fear is that what Jon Gruden seems to be getting into is a lot more mainstream than we would otherwise think. That’s what a lot of people are concerned about.”

Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill.

Pash’s close relationship with former Washington squad president Bruce Allen was revealed in some of the leaked emails, which included topics ranging from jokes about the league’s diversity initiatives to the cancellation of an NFL fine. Allen was fired at the end of the 2019 season.

Krishnamoorthi said members of Congress do not believe the former Washington employees who cooperated with the investigators have received a response.

“The Washington football team and the NFL enjoy special privileges under our antitrust laws,” Krishnamoorthi said. “We thought it was important to get to the bottom of what’s going on in the NFL, in terms of the Washington football team in the way they have treated their employees. What we’ve seen so far ‘now is deeply disturbing. “

Krishnamoorthi said officials wish to investigate this situation to determine whether new or stricter laws are needed to help employees in a similar environment. He said they also wanted to make sure the NFL wasn’t withholding information through the nondisclosure agreements signed by former Washington employees.

Gruden’s emails, sent when he was employed by ESPN as a senior analyst for Monday Night Football, went to Allen’s team account, which is why they were discovered as part of of the NFL investigation. Some have also been included in court records in which Washington owner Dan Snyder has attempted to show Allen as a source of negative information about the team being leaked.

Krishnamoorthi said no one asked representatives to send a letter to the NFL. He said they had observed the situation and that Gruden’s resignation “highlighted the rather disturbing nature of the communications made by high-level officials, and it seems appropriate to step in now and try to go. at the bottom of what is happening “.

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