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Former Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden is suing the NFL over the leaked emails that led to his resignation last month.

The lawsuit filed Thursday in the Clark County District Court in Nevada alleges that the league and commissioner Roger Goodell carried out a “malicious and orchestrated campaign” to harm Gruden’s reputation by leaking the emails, in which he used racial and homophobic slurs.

“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,” Gruden’s attorney Adam Hosmer-Henner told The Hill in a statement.

The NFL has said it has not leaked any of Gruden’s emails. In a statement to The Hill, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said, “the allegations are entirely meritless and the NFL will vigorously defend against these claims.”

The emails, which were sent between 2011 and 2018 when Gruden was an ESPN analyst, were collected as part of the NFL’s investigation into workplace misconduct within the Washington Football team.

The Wall Street Journal first reported on Oct. 8 that Gruden used racist language when describing DeMaurice Smith, head of the NFL Players Association, in an email sent to Bruce Allen, president of the Washington Football Team.

Three days later, on Oct. 11, The New York Times reported another batch of emails in which Gruden denounced women serving as referees and called Goodell a homophobic slur and a “clueless anti football p—-.”

Shortly after the Times’s report, Gruden resigned as head coach of the Raiders. The team reached a settlement on Gruden’s contract later in the month.

Gruden is suing the league for damages, alleging that he experienced “massive financial damages” because of the leak. He says he lost his $100 million contract with the team, as well as him losing his contract with Skechers.

The lawsuit refers to the league’s behavior as a “Soviet-style character assassination.”

“There was no  warning and  no  process,” reads the complaint. “Defendants held the emails for months until they were leaked to the national media in the middle of the Raiders’ season in order to cause maximum damage to Gruden.”


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